â€œLapshinâ€™s arrest â€“ a serious lesson to those making illegal visits to occupied Azerbaijani landsâ€
- 08 February 2017
The brining of Alexander Lapshin to justice in Azerbaijan is a serious lesson and message to those who make illegal visits to the occupied Azerbaijani lands, Samad Seyidov, chairman of the international and inter-parliamentary relations committee at Azerbaijan’s Parliament and head of the Azerbaijani Delegation to PACE, told APA on Wednesday.
Seyidov said the extradition of blogger Alexander Lapshin, who made illegal visits to the occupied Azerbaijani lands and made remarks against Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, has taken place in line with the rule of law, noting that Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity is unambiguously recognized and respected by the international community.
“The one, who has violated it, has violated the law. Everyone is equal before the law. Lapshin’s extradition to and arrest in Azerbaijan proves that our country accepts the supremacy of acting in accordance with international law,” he added.
Touching on Moscow’s statements regarding Israeli and Russian citizen Lapshin’s extradition, Seyidov said this issue could hardly bring any harm on bilateral relations.
“If the matter is the rule of law, countries respect it. We have high-level relations with Russia and Israel, both of which have always acted in line with international law in relation to Azerbaijan,” he noted.
Speaking to APA, MP Ganira Pashayeva said Azerbaijan is clearly right on this issue.
“The issue will obviously cause a serious resonance in the international arena. This will be a lesson for those who disrespect Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and violate its laws. They once again witnessed Azerbaijan’s adherence to principles in this matter,” she said.
According to the MP, despite the calls from the Russian side, the fact that Azerbaijan has demonstrated a principled stance regarding the issue of territorial integrity will be a serious warning for others.
“Along with Azerbaijan’s principled stance, the Belarus president’s fair approach played an important role in this matter,” Pashayeva said noting that all the attempts and statements by the Russian Foreign Ministry that still refuses to take any step with regard to Russian citizen Dilgam Asgarov, illegally held hostage by Armenia, to prevent the extradition to Azerbaijan of Lapshin, who is a citizen of several countries, failed.
“We all know the reason why those defending Lapshin don’t even remember Dilgam Asgarov,” she added.
MP Nagif Hamzayev told APA that the blogger’s extradition once again showed that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev relies only to national values and the rule of law.
“The Azerbaijani state and president have always supported the rule of law and national interests in the international arena,” said the MP, stressing that everyone must respect the territorial integrity and laws of Azerbaijan.
“Lapshin illegally visited the Armenian-occupied territories of Azerbaijan and demonstrated disrespect to Azerbaijan’s state authorities and laws. Of course, it shouldn’t have remained unpunished,” he said.
The MP called on those who demonstrate sensitivity in this issue to pay attention to the issue of Azerbaijanis Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev who were taken hostage by Armenian separatists while visiting their native land.
“Even one of them is a Russian citizen and if this country was actively involved in this issue, it would have taken a step against the violation of international law,” Hamzayev said.
“Blogger Lapshin unequivocally disrespected the territorial integrity of a sovereign state, and even its laws. He should certainly be brought into justice in Azerbaijan,” said the MP, noting that the Azerbaijani state once again demonstrated its adherence to the rule of law.
MP Hamzayev also expressed his gratitude to Belarus, a friendly country to Azerbaijan, for taking a principled position on the issue related to Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
In his statement to APA, Chairman of the Azerbaijani Press Council, MP Aflatun Amashov said Lapshin’s extradition is as important as that of Ramil Safarov.
“In both cases, the Azerbaijani state was able to demonstrate its principled and decisive stance through President Ilham Aliyev. The second issue I would like to note is that Lapshin has propagated against Azerbaijan’s fair position in regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, disregarding our laws,” he said.
The MP said he believes the arrest in Azerbaijan of such a person holding the citizenships of three countries is a good lesson to anyone following the same path.
“It’s not the first case of its kind. Lapshin is a striking example of abusing freedoms of speech and expression in favor of supporting separatism. His activities have nothing to do with such supreme values. I think his arrest in Azerbaijan, a country that is suffering from separatism, is a rare occasion,” he added.
According to him, Lapshin’s extradition is another demonstration of the Azerbaijani state taking a sensitive approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its will and intransigence to eliminate any discomfort in this direction.
Lapshin’s attorney Safar Huseynov told APA that the blogger is currently being held at Baku Detention Facilty No.1 of the Justice Ministry’s Penitentiary Service, and there is nothing new as to the legal procedure.
Blogger Lapshin was extradited to Azerbaijan from Belarus on Feb. 7.
Earlier, the Supreme Court of Belarus rejected the complaint filed by Lapshin’s lawyer regarding his extradition to Azerbaijan.
On Jan. 26, Alexei Stuk, deputy prosecutor general of Belarus, issued a ruling on Lapshin’s extradition to Azerbaijan. The Minsk City Court upheld this decision.
Lapshin, who holds Russian, Israeli, and Ukrainian citizenship, paid illegal visits to the occupied Azerbaijani territories in April 2011 and in October 2012, violating Azerbaijan’s laws on the state border and passports. He made statements against Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.
The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office has opened a criminal case against him on articles 281.2 (public calls directed against the state) and 318.2 (illegal crossing border of the Azerbaijan Republic), and issued an international arrest warrant for him.