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Russian-Israeli Blogger Leaves Azerbaijan After Presidential Pardon


Aleksandr Lapshin entered Nagorno-Karabakh through Armenia without Baku's permission in 2011 and 2012.

A Russian-Israeli blogger who was jailed in Baku for traveling to Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region has left Baku on a flight to Israeli, three days after receiving a pardon from President Ilham Aliyev.

Aleksandr Lapshin was being accompanied by his mother, Bella Lapshina, on his September 14 flight to Tel Aviv.

Aliyev pardoned Lapshin on September 11 while the blogger was receiving medical assistance for what Aliyev's adviser, Ali Hasanov, said was an attempted suicide in prison.

Lapshin was detained in Belarus in 2016 and extradited to Azerbaijan, where he was charged with illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh region -- a breakaway region that is controlled by ethnic Armenian separatists.

Lapshin entered Nagorno-Karabakh through Armenia without Baku's permission in 2011 and 2012. In July, a court in Baku sentenced him to three years in prison.

Lapshin holds Russian, Ukrainian, and Israeli citizenship.

He has maintained his innocence, saying his visit to Nagorno-Karabakh was politically motivated and that he considered the region to be Azerbaijani territory.

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces since a separatist war in the early 1990s. Baku says those forces include troops supplied by Armenia.

Based on reporting by RIA Novosti and APA
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