MINSK, Belarus—Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin has been detained on December 15 in Minsk, Belarus by the orders of Azerbaijani authorities for his visits to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) in 2011 and 2012.
The prosecutor’s office of Azerbaijan said they are taking the necessary steps to have Lapshin extradited from Belarus.
According to the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office, a criminal case has opened against Lapshin for “illegally” crossing the Azerbaijani border and for public appeals directed against the state.
Lapshin said he would not delete anything from his blog and called the blacklist list “nonsense and an anecdote.”
David Babayan, Spokesperson of the Artsakh President, commented on the arrest saying that Azerbaijan is reaching a “new level” with Lapshin’s arrest by launching criminal persecutions against people who have visited Nagorno-Karabakh.
“The attempts are also considered interference in the internal affairs of another state,” stressed Babayan. “In fact, Azerbaijan wishes to achieve the extradition of a citizen of a foreign state, to try [him] on a fictitious ‘crime;’ this is a gross violation of international law and international humanitarian law.
According to Lapshin’s Facebook page, he is currently in held in custody in Minsk. The Belarus’ authorities have not yet reported on the arrest.