Vienna, 20 July 2017 – The South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) was dismayed to learn that blogger Aleksandr Lapshin was convicted to three years in prison for illegally crossing state borders into the disputed Nagorrno-Karabakh region on three occasions between 2011-2016.
The Russian-Israeli travel blogger was detained in Belarus on 15 December 2016, extradited to Azerbaijan per request of their authorities on 7 February. Israeli officials wanted to prevent Lapshin’s extradition. He also holds Ukrainian and Russian citizenship. Lapshin was sentenced for entering the region which Azerbaijan and Armenia both claim, but additional charges of “making anti-state calls to the public” were dropped for lack of evidence.
SEEMO expressed deep concern for the safety and human rights of Aleksandr Lapshin. SEEMO called institutions in Azerbaijan to release the blogger and acquit him of all charges.
SEEMO is a network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in South, East and Central Europe.