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Minsk Court Upholds Russian-Israeli Blogger's Extradition To Azerbaijan

Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin in a Minsk courtroom on January 26.
Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin in a Minsk courtroom on January 26.

MINSK -- A Belarusian court has moved the legal process forward on the extradition to Baku of Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin -- who is wanted there on allegations of supporting the independence of Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The Minsk City Court on January 26 rejected Lapshin's appeal against his extradition.

Lapshin now has 10 days to appeal the Minsk City Court's ruling at Belarus's Supreme Court, his last legal recourse to avoid extradition.

Belarus's deputy state prosecutor Alyaksey Stuk signed the extradition order on January 18.

Lapshin, who lives in Moscow and writes a Russian-language travel blog, was detained in Minsk in mid-December on the basis of Baku's extradition request.

Azerbaijani prosecutors accuse Lapshin of illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh and calling for the recognition of the breakaway region's independence.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Minsk to "unconditionally" release Lapshin.

If the extradition proceeds and Lapshin is convicted in Baku, he could face up to eight years in prison there.

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