Russian Ombudsman, Armenian MFA Criticize Lapshin Extradition Order
MOSCOW, Russia (A.W.)— Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova issued a statement on Jan. 31 warning the authorities in Belarus against handing of Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan, RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) reported.
Russia’s constitution forbids the extradition of Russian citizens to foreign countries and as a “union state” Belarus must respect this provision, explained Moskalkova. “I have received support for my position from Russia’s Foreign Ministry and other relevant agencies,” said the top human rights official.
A court in Minsk upheld last week Belarusian prosecutors’ decision to allow his extradition to Azerbaijan. Lapshin has appealed against the ruling, according to Israel consul-general in Belarus Yulia Rachinski-Spivakov.
“Lapshin will stay in Belarus until the court makes a [final] decision on the case,” Rachinski-Spivakov told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Feb. 1.
On Jan. 31, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian condemned the decision by the authorities in Belarus to arrest and extradite Lapshin and called it a “disgrace.”
Nalbandian told a reporters during a press conference that he was not sure who has what to gain from the extradition. “I’m sure that it won’t add to anyone’s reputation. It’s quite the opposite,” he added.
Last week, Armenia’s Human Rights Ombudsman, Arman Tatoyan, strongly condemned Belarusian authorities when he met with a senior Council of Europe official in Strasbourg.
In early January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed concern and opposed the decision by the authorities in Belarus while the New York based Committee to Protect Journalists demanded the blogger’s release on a statement made on Jan. 13.
Lapshin, who was arrested for his trips to Nagorno Karabagh (NKR/Artsakh) in the past and his criticism of Azerbaijan, has been detained since mid-December.
Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Russian Ombudsman, Armenian MFA Criticize Lapshin Extradition Order