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Russian Blogger Jailed In Azerbaijan Seeks Extradition To Israel

Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin after being extradited to Azerbaijan

A Russian blogger who was jailed after traveling to a breakaway region of Azerbaijan has petitioned to be extradited to Israel, his lawyer said on July 26.

Aleksandr Lapshin was detained in Belarus last year and extradited to Azerbaijan, where he was charged with illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh, which he entered through Armenia, without Baku's permission in 2011 and 2012. He was sentenced to three years in prison earlier this month.

Lapshin has maintained his innocence, saying his visit to the breakaway region did not have any political motives and he considers Nagorno-Karabakh to be Azerbaijani territory.

Defense lawyer Eduard Chernin said that his client has met with an Israeli consul in prison and petitioned to be extradited there. Lapshin holds Russian, Ukrainian, and Israeli citizenship.

Since a separatist war ended in 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces which Azerbaijan says include troops supplied by Armenia.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax