Alexander Lapshin
Russian-Israeli travel blogger Alexander Lapshin, who was sentenced to three years behind bars in Azerbaijan, was released on Tuesday

Blogger Alexander Lapshin Released

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BAKU (RFE/RL and AP) — Russian-Israeli travel blogger Alexander Lapshin, who was sentenced to three years behind bars in Azerbaijan, was released on Tuesday, September 12, Lapshin’s lawyer, Eduard Chernin said, according to RIA Novosti.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on the previous day pardoning the blogger.

“Lapshin has been released but he is not likely to be deported from Azerbaijan today,” Chernin informed.

“There is an 80-percent probability that Lapshin will not be deported from Azerbaijan today,” he said. “Everything will become clear after midday.”

Lapshin was sentenced by the Baku court on grave crimes on July 20, 2017 over his visit to Nagorno-Karabakh.

The blogger was detained in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in December 2016 at Baku’s request. He was flown to Baku on February 7 and handed over to the Azerbaijani State Security Service.

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Azerbaijani prosecutors launched a criminal case into “repeated public anti-state calls” and what they claimed as “illegal crossing of Azerbaijan’s state border.”

The extradition and persecution against Lapshin was widely slammed by international community as a gross violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of speech and movement.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the pardon, saying it has carefully followed the case while Lapshin was incarcerated. “We look forward to seeing him soon in Israel and we will closely monitor the process of his return,” it said.

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