Edward Nalbandian: Lapshin case won’t become a precedent

Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian says the case of Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin will not become a precedent.

“I can’t say who will benefit from the Lapshin case, but it will certainly not add honor to anyone,” Edward Nalbandian told a press conference today.

“On the contrary, persecuting people for exercising their fundamental rights to the freedom of movement and freedom of expression is a shame,” the Foreign Minister said.

According to Minister Nalbandian, the case will hardly become a precedent.

“People have visited and will keep visiting Nagorno Karabakh,” Edward Nalbandian said. “More and more people have been visiting Nagorno Karabakh over the past years despite Azerbaijan’s discontent.

The visitors include not only outstanding public, political and culture figures, but also tourists.

“The more they [Azerbaijan] try to prevent the visits, the more they advertise Nagorno Karabakh. Everyone wants to go and see it,” the Minister noted.

“This only causes harm Azerbaijan’s reputation and the reputation of all those cooperating with Azerbaijan on such issues,” Edward Nalbandian said.

On December 15, 2016, police in Belarus detained Mr. Lapshin, a popular travel blogger based in Moscow, for his prior visits to the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and for his criticism of the Aliyev regime.

On 20 January 2017, at President Aliyev’s request,  the General Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus decided to have Mr. Lapshin extradited to Azerbaijan.  An appeal to the ruling was recently denied.

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