Lawyer Karinna Moskalenko on the case of blogger Aleksandr Lapshin [30 Jan]

posted 19 Feb 2017, 07:12 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Feb 2017, 07:12 ]
30 January 2017


Prominent Russian lawyer Karinna Moskalenko has called on Russian officials to prevent the extradition of blogger Aleksandr Lapshin to Azerbaijan, Radio Svoboda reports.

In an appeal addressed to the head of the Presidential Council on Human Rights, Mikhail Fedotov, and the Ombudsperson for Human Rights in the Russian Federation, Tatyana Moskalkova, Karinna Moskalenko said that “Russia has been consistently fighting any attempts to extradite its citizens to other countries.”

The text of the appeal was published on Aleksandr Lapshin’s Facebook page which is being updated by Lapshin’s close friend after he was remanded in custody.

According to Karinna Moskalenko, the extradition of Lapshin from Minsk to Baku violates the Agreement on the creation of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. The lawyer noted that citizens of the Union State possess equal rights and bear equal obligations on the territory of the other member state.

The Russian constitution forbids the extradition of Russian citizens to other countries, and therefore Moskalenko believes that extraditing a blogger to Azerbaijan would be contrary to the principles of the Union State.

Aleksandr Lapshin was arrested in Minsk in mid-December 2016 at the request of the Azerbaijani security authorities. In Baku, the blogger was accused of “illegally visiting” Nagorno-Karabakh and “illegally entering” Azerbaijan on a Ukrainian passport (Lapshin has citizenship of three countries: Russia, Israel and Ukraine).

The authorities of Russia, Israel and Armenia have stated their opposition to the extradition of Aleksandr Lapshin. A US State Department representative also spoke in defence of the blogger.

Despite this, on 17 January 2017, the Prosecutor General of Belarus made the decision to extradite Lapshin to Azerbaijan. The appeal by Lapshin’s lawyers against this decision was rejected on 26 January.

Translated by Kate Goodby