MINSK, Belarus (A.W.)— On Feb. 7, the Supreme Court of Belarus rejected Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin’s appeal and upheld the decision of the Prosecutor General’s office to extradite him to Azerbaijan. Lapshin’s lawyer, Natalya Shekina, said that the extradition will take place as soon as a date is announced, according to a report by Yerevan-based Armenpress news.
Shekina added that Lapshin’s wife has requested additional protection from the Department of Citizen and Migration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Belarus. Lapshin’s wife has also filed a complaint to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations.
Lapshin faces criminal prosecution in Azerbaijan for “illegal border crossing” and “public calls against the country.” Following the Supreme Court decision, Nagorno-Karabagh (NKR/Artsakh) President Spokesperson Davit Babayan said that Lapshin’s extradition is a “challenge” to Israel.
“The decision causes serious damage to the credibility of the country,” Babayan told reporters on Feb. 7, adding, “We deem the decision of Belarus as scandalous, disgraceful, and illegal.”
Babayan said that he is confident that the people of Belarus do not support the decision and believes that Israel should suspend cooperation with Azerbaijan, especially since the life of Lapshin will be under serious threat in Azerbaijani prison.
Earlier in the day, the Armenian National Committee (ANC) of South America delivered a letter of protest to the Ambassador of Belarus in Argentina regarding the decision to extradite Lapshin.
“We wish to convey our most sincere concern over the decision of the Republic of Belarus to grant the extradition of the digital journalist Alexander Lapshin to the Republic of Azerbaijan,” read the letter signed by the Armenian National Committee of South America and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of South America.