MINSK, Belarus—Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin has appealed against the Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office on his extradition to Azerbaijan.
Lapshin was arrested in Minsk at the request of Baku authorities on December 15 over his visits to the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
“The Minsk City Court received an appeal filed by Lapshin against the decision of the Prosecutor General’s Office. The appeal will be considered on January 26,” Assistant to the Chairman of the Minsk City Court Anastasia Shilvyan announced.
If the appeal is rejected on at the closed-door hearing on Thursday, Lapshin may appeal to the Belarusian Supreme Court.
The Prosecutor General’s Office said that the decision on Lapshin’s extradition to Azerbaijan was passed on the basis of the materials provided by Baku.
Armenian National Assembly member Naira Zohrabyan gave a speech on Tuesday highlighting Lapshin’s arrest at a PACE (Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe) Winter Plenary Session in Strasbourg, France. Zohrabyan called on the Council of Europe to state its opposition against Azerbaijan’s violation of freedom of expression and to ensure that Lapshin’s extradition to Baku is stopped.
In her speech, the Armenian delegate alluded to Azerbaijan’s “blacklist” consisting of over 600 names, including some about 180 journalists who have visited Artsakh.
Statements calling for Lapshin’s release have been issued by the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Russian Foreign Ministry, Israel, Armenia’s Human Rights Defender’s (Ombudsman) Office, and the Artsakh Foreign Ministry.