Will Jewish Political Blogger Be Extradicted To Azerbaijan?
(JTA) – Israel reportedly blocked the extradition of one of its citizens from Belarus to Azerbaijan, where he is wanted for political crimes.
Blogger Alexander Lapshin, who is a dual citizen of Russia and Israel, was arrested in the Belarusian capital Minsk Thursday, the Belarusian news website Telegraf reported. Authorities in Belarus, which is often referred to as Europe’s last dictatorship, arrested Lapshin based on an arrest warrant against him in Azerbaijan, which is also widely seen as a dictatorship, over his 2011 and 2012 visits to Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the warrant for his arrest, Lapshin violated local laws when he entered the landlocked enclave in southwestern Azerbaijan, where Armenian militias maintain a de facto sovereign territory despite Azeri attempts to isolate them, including by heavily restricting movement in and out of the area.
He is wanted in Azerbaijan for “public actions against the state” and “illegally crossing the state border,” the Azeri news website Haqqin reported Monday. Belarusian authorities delayed the extradition until Israel reviews the case, the report said.
In recent years, Israel has deepened its relations with Azerbaijan and Belarus.