Blogger Lapshin May Face Up to 6.5 Years in Prison

The trial of travel blogger Alexander Lapshin continued yesterday in Baku’s Court of Grave Crimes.

At the trial the prosecutor claimed that the guilt of the defendant had been fully proved. According to the prosecutor, Lapshin himself had acknowledged that he had illegally crossed the state border of Azerbaijan, however he did not admit to acting in cohort with a criminal group – that is, the five individuals with whom he crossed into Nagorno-Karabakh.

Lapshin’s lawyer, Eduard Chernin, asked for time to prepare closing remarks. The next court session will be held on July 19.

The well-known 40-year-old Israeli-Russian-Ukrainian travel blogger used to write extensively about his travels and adventures on his LiveJournal blog.

Lapshin was arrested on December 15, 2016, by Belarusian authorities on the request of Azerbaijan. He was extradited two and a half months later in February to Baku, where he was accused of illegally crossing the state border of Azerbaijan and making public appeals directed against the state.

If convicted, he may face up to 6.5 years in prison.

Recently Interpol denied Azerbaijan’s request to issue an arrest warrant for Czech MP of the European Parliament Jaromír Štětina, who in addition to two other colleagues monitored so-called constitutional elections earlier this year in Nagorno Karabakh. Azerbaijan claims the three are guilty of illegally crossing the state border.

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