YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Contrary to Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s claims, Interpol has reportedly said that it did not issue an international arrest warrant for a Russian-Israeli blogger who was controversially extradited to Azerbaijan this week.
Lukashenko claimed on February 3 that Alexander Lapshin was arrested in Minsk in December because “Azerbaijan appealed to Interpol, not to us.” “We detained him in accordance with Interpol’s decision and must hand him over to Azerbaijan in accordance with all laws and regulations,” he told a news conference in the Belarusian capital.
Lapshin was handed over to Azerbaijan on February 7 to face charges of illegal entry into Azerbaijani territory which stem from his past trips to Nagorno-Karabakh. The extradition was criticized by Russia and Armenia.
The Armenian police said on Friday that they have asked Interpol to clarify whether it indeed helped the Azerbaijani authorities arrest the 40-year-old blogger.
In a written reply publicized by an Armenian police spokesman, the international police organization’s General Secretariat said: “We have checked and confirm that the subject is unknown to [Interpol] databases.”
“We also have transferred your request to our legal department and will inform you as soon as we have more information,” added the secretariat based in Lyon, France.
Belarus’s Office of the Prosecutor-General confirmed later in the day that Lapshin had not been placed on an international wanted list. A spokesperson for the law-enforcement body told the RIA Novosti news agency that the blogger was detained in accordance with a treaty signed by former Soviet republics making up the Commonwealth of Independent States.