Convicted blogger formally requests extradition to Israel

Alexander Lapshin

Alexander Lapshin has formally requested extradition to Israel, according to his lawyer Eduard Chernin. The request has been submitted to the Azerbaijani Ministry of Justice, but extradition will only be considered after his sentence comes into force ‘approximately 14 August,’ the lawyer added.

Lapshin, a popular Russian-speaking travel blogger, was sentenced to three years in prison for illegally crossing Azerbaijan’s state borders and for statements threatening the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.

In 2011 and 2012 Lapshin visited the breakaway republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, resulting in his being banned from entering Azerbaijan. However in 2016 the blogger, who has Russian, Ukrainian, and Israeli citizenship, visited Baku using his Ukrainian passport where his name is spelled differently (Oleksandr) than in Russian or Azeri (Aleksandr). At the request of Azerbaijani authorities, Belarus extradited Lapshin in February 2017.

Currently 324 people are considered persona non grata in Azerbaijan for visiting Nagorno-Karabakh illegally.