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Moscow has no questions to Minsk over blogger's extradition — Russian ambassador

February 11, 3:02 UTC+3 MINSK

Russia, Azerbaijan and Belarus are members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that has an extradition agreement, so Lapshin's extradition was justified from the legal point of view

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MINSK, February 11. /TASS/. The extradition of blogger Alexander Lapshin, who was detained in Minsk and extradited to Azerbaijan to be tried for border violation charges, was justified from the legal point of view, Russia’s ambassador to Belarus said.

Alexander Surikov said Russia, Azerbaijan and Belarus are members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) that has a multilateral extradition agreement.

"Our consular service worked to have him extradited to Russia or Israel. He could have been extradited to Russia under the same agreement, but we had no criminal case against him. Had our Prosecutor General’s office launched a criminal case against him, he would have been extradited to Russia, not Azerbaijan. But we don’t have a criminal case," he said.

"It is all clean from the legal point of view, although there are questions of emotional kind. I sympathize with him," the ambassador added.

He said the story of Lapshin demonstrates the sad consequences of treating social networking sites without due caution and responsibility.

"Knowing that those who visit Nagorny Karabakh are not allowed to enter Azerbaijan, he decided to check it and, when he came back, started boasting on social networks (and telling) how bad the Azerbaijanis are," the diplomat said.

"If you made something illegal in a foreign country, you don shouldn’t tell the whole world about it," he added.

Lapshin who has the Russian, Ukrainian and Israeli citizenship, was brought to Baku from Minsk on February 7 and handed over to officers of Azerbaijan’s State Security Service. He was detained in Minsk last December 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.

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