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South America Armenians reject Lapshin's extradition to Azerbaijan

South America Armenians reject Lapshin's extradition to Azerbaijan

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Armenian National Committee of South America delivered a letter to the Ambassador of Belarus in Argentina to protest the decision to extradite Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan, Agencia Prensa Armenia reports.

"We wish to convey our most sincere concern over the decision of the Republic of Belarus to grant the extradition of digital journalist Alexander Lapshin to the Republic of Azerbaijan," said the letter signed by the Armenian National Committee of South America and Armenian Youth Federation of South America.

"Due to his trip to Nagorno Karabakh in 2012 he was included in the 'blacklist' made by the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry. Subsequently, he was accused of violating two clauses of Azerbaijan's criminal law 281.2, which punishes those who damage the territorial integrity of that country, and 318.2 that prohibits crossing Azeri borders without the required documents. Both laws have prison terms of up to eight years."

"As Argentine citizens descendants of Armenians we need to transmit you that we consider extremely dangerous for Lapshin to be handed over to the Azerbaijan authorities, and we hope to be able to arrange a meeting as soon as possible so that we can discuss the matter," finished the text.

Lapshin, 40, a dual Israeli-Russian citizen, divides his time between Israel and a few other places. He was arrested on December 15 in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, at the request of Azeri authorities who demanded his extradition. The arrest was made one day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

Lapshin was arrested following his visits to Karabakh as well as due to critical posts in his Russian-language blog against Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said on February 3 he expects a Russian-Israeli blogger jailed in the country for nearly two months to be extradited to Azerbaijan. Lukashenko suggested, however, that Israel could reach a deal with Azerbaijan to secure Alexander Lapshin’s release, "if it wishes."

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