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Azerbaijani Prosecutor Seeks Lengthy Prison Term For Russian-Israeli Blogger

  • RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service

Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin being extradited from Minsk.

BAKU -- An Azerbaijani prosecutor has asked a court in Baku to sentence Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin, who is charged with calling for the violation of the country's territorial integrity, to 6 1/2 years in prison.

Prosecutor Nasir Bayramov made the statement at the high-profile trial in the Baku Court for Serious Crimes on July 14.

Lapshin is accused of illegally visiting Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2011 and 2012 without Baku's permission, and then calling for the recognition of the region's independence in two online statements.

He pleaded not guilty, saying his visit to the breakaway region did not have any political motives and adding that he considers Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijani territory.

The trial will resume on July 19, and Lapshin could face up to eight years in prison if convicted.

Lapshin, 40, who holds Russian, Israeli, and Ukrainian passports, writes a Russian-language travel blog. He was detained in Belarus in mid-December at Baku's request.

Despite Russia's objections, Belarusian authorities extradited Lapshin to Baku in February.

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