Alexander Lapshin, who was detained in the middle of December at the request of Azerbaijan, still remains in a temporary detention facility in Minsk.

A protest rally against the possible extradition of the blogger to Azerbaijan took place today outside the Belarusian embassy in Yerevan. Well-known blogger and traveller Alexander Lapshin was detained in Minsk on December 15 at the request of official Baku.

Lapshin was banned from entering Azerbaijan after he had visited Nagorno-Karabakh, a subject of dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and made reports from the region. He violated the ban in 2015 and entered Nagorno-Karabakh using his Ukrainian passport, where his name is spelled differently. Azerbaijani authorities are reported to have put Alexander Lapshin on an international wanted list for crossing the border illegally.

Azerbaijan accuses Lapshin of supporting Nagorno-Karabakh separatists who want the disputed area to be joined to Armenia. He is also accused of biased reporting on the situation in the region. Belarusian authorities consider the blogger’s extradition to Baku.

At the rally against the extradition of Lapshin to Azerbaijan, activists chanted “Nagorno-Karabakh is not Azerbaijan”. They also called on official Minsk not to support Ilham Aliyev’s government and his attempts to prevent the comprehensive coverage of events in the disputed region. No one of the embassy staff came out of the building to talk to protesters who had to leave posters and a letter to the diplomatic mission head near the doors. They left the site chanting “Shame!”, addressing the sides that prosecute Alexander Lapshin.

Activists claim that the authorities of Azerbaijan violate human rights and international law. They are going to take all possible measures to draw public attention to the situation and help the blogger held in the temporary detention facility in Minsk.

Traveller Alexander Lapshin is a citizen of Russia, Israel, Ukraine and Canada. He has a blog on the website of Echo of Moscow radio, writes about his trips on Livejournal and for Ukrainian news website Obozrevatel. Alexander has visited 122 countries, reporting on local culture, customs, social and political events. He posted about the arrest on Facebook on December 15, but the post was later removed from his page.

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