Wednesday 25 April 2018 Last Update: 07:53 PM

Extradition Of Blogger To Azerbaijan Legal, Says Envoy

Published: 02-16-2017

The extradition of a blogger from Belarus to Azerbaijan for alleged unlawful visits to occupied Karabakh is "entirely legal," Azerbaijan's ambassador to Turkey insisted on Tuesday.

"Alexander Lapshin, who holds Russian, Israeli and Ukrainian citizenship, paid illegal visits to occupied Azerbaijani territories in April 2011 and in Oct. 2012, violating Azerbaijan's laws on state borders and passports," Faig Baghirov told Anadolu Agency (AA). Baku issued an arrest warrant for Lapshin over his unauthorized travel and blog posts. Lapshin was detained in Belarus last December and the country's Supreme Court approved his extradition to Azerbaijan on Feb. 7.

Baghirov said Lapshin's case indicated that Armenia fraudulently enticed foreign nationals to travel to Azerbaijan's occupied territories and tried to convert them into tools of propaganda. He said Azerbaijan always demonstrated its "unequivocal" position with regard to people who violate national and international laws.

The ambassador described Lapshin's extradition as a "triumph of international law" and showed that traveling to occupied Karabakh is not a trip to a tourist zone as presented by Armenia, but a criminal offense. Azerbaijan and Armenia remain in dispute over the occupied Karabakh region. Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in 1991 with Armenian military support, and a peace process has yet to be implemented. Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a six-year war over occupied Karabakh in the late 1980s until a 1994 cease-fire. Since the end of the war in 1994, Armenia and Azerbaijan have held talks under the supervision of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Minsk Group.