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MOSCOW, February 8. /TASS/. Russia is disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court of Belarus to extradite blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
"The Russian side expresses its deep disappointment with this decision, which runs counter to the spirit of allied relations between Russia and Belarus," the ministry stressed. "We are determined to take all necessary steps in the future to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Russian national with a view to securing his speedy return to his family."
"According to available information, on February 7, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus examined the case at a closed-door session and did not satisfy the complaint of Russian and Israeli citizen, Alexander Lapshin, in response to a decision by the Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office on his extradition to Azerbaijan," the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.
Lapshin who has the Russian, Ukrainian and Israeli citizenship, was brought to Baku from Minsk on Tuesday evening and handed over to officers of Azerbaijan’s State Security Service. He was detained in Minsk last December. He was earlier put on an international wanted list at Azerbaijan’s request after visiting the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region without permission from the Azerbaijani authorities.
Azerbaijani prosecutors launched a criminal case into "repeated public anti-state calls" and "illegal crossing of Azerbaijan’s state border," punishable with a prison term of five to eight years.
The Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office decided to extradite Lapshin on January 17. On January 26, the Minsk City Court upheld the decision.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said Moscow opposes extradition of Russians to a third country and attempts to make trips by journalists or individuals to certain territories a criminal offense.