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Azerbaijan opens criminal case against Russian blogger Semyon Pegov

BAKU, October 12. /TASS/. Azerbaijani Prosecutor-General’s Office has opened a criminal case against Russian blogger Semyon Pegov for illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Investigation has found that Russian citizen Semyon Pegov entered into criminal collusion with a number of persons in Armenia and in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan in violation of the law On the State Border of the Azerbaijani Republic and the country’s Migration Code and illegally visited the city of Khankendi (Stepanakert - TASS) and other occupied communities illegally, without the necessary documents and bypassing the border checkpoints, in other words, through the territory of Armenia… Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor-General has opened a criminal case over the incident. The PGO’s Investigative Directorate has been instructed to probe into the incident," the news release runs.

The news release also claims that Pegov on his page in the Internet published "content with calls addressed to Russian citizens to go to the area of combat operations to provide assistance to Armenia" and "calls aimed against the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan."

The news release says that the criminal proceedings were launched under articles 214.2 (public calls for terrorism), 281.1 (public calls aimed against the state) and 318.2 (illegal crossing of Azerbaijan’s border) of Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.

Baku and Yerevan have disputed sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the region declared secession from the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist republic. In the armed conflict of 1992-1994 Azerbaijan lost control of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjoining regions.