The European Ombudsman Institute (EOI) has issued a statement on the arrest and extradition of Alexander Lapshin. The statement reads:
“It is a matter of deep concern that journalist and blogger Alexander Lapshin was arrested and then extradited.
The described situation tends to turn to an unacceptable situation violating freedom of expression and media.
Considering the fact that visits of civil society representatives and journalists to Nagorno-Karabakh have invaluable significance in humanitarian sense. Any action towards territorial limitation for fulfilling media representatives’ democratic mission is strongly condemnable. This decision on Alexander Lapshin’s extradition is a real threat to freedom of expression and media that lie at the heart of European values.
Apart from this, the extradition of Mr. Alexander Lapshin is very worrisome because of real possibility of his torture and inhuman treatment. Clear sign of ill-treatment against Mr. Lapshin is that his arrest and transfer into another region was widely covered in the media: handcuffed, apprehended by military in masks and with guns. Such treatment of a journalist is impermissible.
IThe European Ombudsman Institute welcomes the importance of reactions protecting freedom of speech in any territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and other regions, already delivered by the OSCE special representative for freedom of the media, some EU officials and human rights organizations.
For preventing such kind of vicious practice it should be preliminary confronted with strong condemnation.”