Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General’s office has issued an arrest warrant for Armenian-American poker champion Dan Blizerian, who just completed a three-day visit to Armenia and Artsakh, Azerbaijani media reported.
Bilzerian, who is also known as the “King of Instagram,” for having millions of followers on the social media site, is charged with “illegally” visiting Artsakh, “illegally” acquiring grenades, a gun and other firearms and demonstratively opening fire.
During his visit to Armenia, Bilzerian took the oath for Armenian citizenship, which was approved in 2014 and registered for military service. He then headed for Artsakh, where he demonstrated his shooting skills at a shooting range.
Bilzerian told People magazine the he will fight the charges, adding that he has “no interest in ever going to Azerbaijan.”
Saying that the charges were politically motivated, Bilzerian, 37, noted that he traveled to Artsakh with a group of other people, but he was the only one who was charged.
“They only issued the warrant for my arrest, and nobody else on the trip,” he told People. “I think it’s because I am a public figure and they want to try to make an example out of me.”
People contacted the Consulate General of Armenia in Los Angeles, which said that Armenia has contacted Interpol and urged them to dismiss Azerbaijan’s prosecution of Bilzerian as political. Azerbaijan had earlier requested Interpol to declare Bilzerian internationally wanted.