Azer­bai­jan’s pres­i­dent par­dons jailed blog­ger

The Myanmar Times - - World -

Azer­bai­jan’s pres­i­dent on Mon­day par­doned a Rus­sian blog­ger who was jailed for trav­el­ing to a sep­a­ratist-con­trolled re­gion of the for­mer Soviet repub­lic.

Alexan­der Lap­shin was de­tained in Be­larus last year and ex­tra­dited to Azer­bai­jan, where he was charged for his trip to Nagorno-Karabakh via Ar­me­nia sev­eral years ago. He was sen­tenced to three years in pri­son in July.

The of­fice of Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev said he had par­doned Lap­shin, who had pe­ti­tioned to be ex­tra­dited to Is­rael. Lap­shin holds Rus­sian, Ukrainian and Is­raeli cit­i­zen­ship.

Since a sep­a­ratist war ended in 1994, Nagorno-Karabakh has been un­der the con­trol of forces that claim to be lo­cal eth­nic Ar­me­ni­ans but that Azer­bai­jan al­leges in­clude Ar­me­nian troops. Is­rael’s For­eign Min­istry wel­comed the par­don, say­ing it has care­fully fol­lowed the case while Lap­shin was in­car­cer­ated. “We look for­ward to see­ing him soon in Is­rael and we will closely mon­i­tor the process of his re­turn,” it said.

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