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Belarus Detains Russian Blogger Wanted In Azerbaijan On Separatism Charges

Azerbaijani authorities say a Russian blogger who is wanted in Baku on separatism charges has been detained in Belarus.

In its December 16 statement, the Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General's Office said that it is seeking the extradition of Aleksandr Lapshin to Azerbaijan.

It is not clear when Lapshin -- who the Prosecutor-General's Office said holds passports of the Russian Federation and a second nation it did not identify -- was detained in Belarus.

It said Lapshin illegally visited Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh without asking permission from Azerbaijani officials in 2011 and 2012.

The statement also said that earlier in 2016 Lapshin posted two statements on the Internet calling for the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence from Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani authorities are investigating Lapshin on suspicion of threatening Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and illegally crossing the state border.

If extradited, tried, and convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.

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