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CPJ Urges Belarus To Release Russian Blogger Wanted In Azerbaijan

Aleksandr Lapshin

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is calling on Belarusian authorities to “unconditionally” release a Russian-Israeli blogger who is wanted in Baku on separatism charges.

Aleksandr Lapshin, who lives in Moscow and writes a Russian-language travel blog, was detained in Minsk last month on an extradition request from Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani prosecutors accuse him of illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh and calling for the recognition of the breakaway region’s independence from Azerbaijan.

A representative of Belarus's Prosecutor-General's Office was quoted as saying on January 13 that it was studying Azerbaijan's extradition request.

"Lapshin should not be jailed for expressing his opinions or traveling to a disputed region," Nina Ognianova, CPJ's Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, said in a January 13 statement.

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

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