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Russian-Israeli Blogger's Baku Trial To Start On June 22

Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin (center) was extradited from Minsk at Azerbaijan's request (file photo)

Azerbaijani authorities have set June 22 as the date for the start of a high-profile trial against Russian-Israeli citizen Aleksandr Lapshin, an Internet blogger charged with calling for the violation of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity.

Lapshin's lawyer Eduard Chernin on June 13 confirmed the date of the preliminary hearing into the case by a court in Baku.

Azerbaijani prosecutors have charged Lapshin 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.

Lapshin, 40, who resides in Moscow and writes a Russian-language travel blog, was detained in Belarus in mid-December at Baku's request.

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

If Lapshin is convicted by the Azerbaijani court, he could face up to eight years in prison there.

Based on reporting by APA and Interfax