Alexander Valerievich Lapshin (Hebrew: אלכסנדר לפשין, Russian: Александр Валерьевич Лапшин, born 4 February 1976) is a Soviet-born travel blogger and journalist.[1] Lapshin holds Russian, Israeli, and Ukrainian citizenship.[2] In 2016 Lapshin was arrested in Minsk at the request of the Azerbaijani authorities and extradited to Baku due to a visit to Nagorno-Karabakh. On May 20, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on the blogger's complaint against the Republic of Azerbaijan, finding the country's authorities responsible for the illegal arrest, torture and attempted murder against Lapshin.[3]

Alexander Lapshin
Born (1976-02-04) February 4, 1976 (age 47)
EducationUniversity of Haifa

Biography Edit

Alexander Lapshin was born in 1976 in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), to a Russian father and Jewish-Ukrainian mother. At the age of 13, he emigrated to Israel with his family. After graduating from the University of Haifa, he served three years with the Israel Defense Forces, both in the Gaza Strip and on the Lebanese-Israeli border. For about a year, he studied in the United States. Between 2003 and 2008, he lived in Moscow and was engaged in commercial real estate and the Forex market.[4] After the financial crisis of 2008, he returned to Israel. Until 2016, he lived on the Rosh HaNikra kibbutz in Israel, near the border with Lebanon, working as a remote editor of Russian travel Internet resources.[5]

Arrest Edit

On December 15, 2016, Lapshin was arrested in Minsk at the request of Azerbaijan for allegedly illegal crossing of the Azerbaijan border and incitements against the state.[6] Lapshin visited Nagorno Karabakh Republic (which is internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan) twice, in 2011 and 2012, resulting in the "blacklisting" by Azerbaijan. Nevertheless, Alexander Lapshin visited Baku in June 2016, having entered Azerbaijan with his Ukrainian passport through the Georgia border. He was able to avoid the detection by the border officers due to a different spelling of his name.

Belarus extradited Lapshin to Azerbaijan on 7 February 7, 2017.[7] Diplomats of Russia, Israel and Armenia attempted to prevent his extradition to Azerbaijan. The representative of the US State Department John Kirby spoke about the Lapshin case.[8] The protest in connection with the extradition of Lapshin was also announced by the OSCE.[9][10][11]

Numerous Russian,[12][13] Turkish,[14] Czech[15] and EU[16] politicians condemned Lapshin’s extradition and demanded his release.

A court in Baku sentenced Lapshin to three years in prison.[17][18] Three months after that, on 11 September 2017, Ilham Aliyev signed a decree to pardon Alexander Lapshin, after which he was able to fly from Baku to Tel Aviv.[19][20][21][22]

Attempted murder Edit

On the night of 11 September 2017, Lapshin was attacked in a solitary confinement cell of a Baku Pre-trial detention. In the morning of the same day, Ali Hasanov, a personal adviser to the president, made a statement that Lapshin had attempted suicide, but that the prison guards managed to save his life. It was also stated that, in connection with this incident, it was decided to pardon him by presidential decree. Lapshin spent 3 days in the intensive care unit of a Baku hospital and then was deported to Israel. After arriving in Israel, Lapshin made a statement to the press that he had not committed suicide and that he had been attacked in Baku with the aim of murder.[23] Medical examinations conducted in Israel confirmed the blogger’s version of the attempted murder, which contradicted the official position of the Baku authorities. Independent experts in Russia and the Netherlands also confirmed the assassination version, which became the basis for filing a complaint against Azerbaijan to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.[24][25]

Lapshin's appeal to the ECHR Edit

At the beginning of 2018, Alexander Lapshin filed a lawsuit against Azerbaijan in the European Court of Human Rights (EHCR), in which he accused Azerbaijan of attempted murder, torture, illegal imprisonment.[26][27] On May 20, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled on the blogger's complaint against the Republic of Azerbaijan, finding the country's authorities responsible for the illegal arrest, torture and attempted murder against Lapshin.[28][29]

UN Human Rights Committee on the case of Lapshin Edit

On 19 July 2022 the UN Human Rights Committee adopted a view recognizing the Belarusian authorities as guilty of the illegal arrest and subsequent extradition to Azerbaijan of Alexander Lapshin. The resolution emphasizes that visiting Nagorno-Karabakh as a journalist cannot be considered a criminal offense, and also states that the extradition to Azerbaijan potentially threatened the journalist's life and should not have taken.[30]

References Edit

  1. ^ "Justice for peace: Alexander Lapshin's relentless fight". IFJ. May 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "The blogger jailed for visiting a country that 'doesn't exist'". BBC News. 7 February 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2023.
  3. ^ Time, Current (22 May 2021). "European Rights Court Finds Baku Authorities Guilty Of Trying To Kill Blogger". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Retrieved 2022-10-26.
  4. ^ Ксения Леонова (Ksenia Leonova). "Четыре сценария финансового успеха. Фото | Финансы и инвестиции". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  5. ^ "Info". Archived from the original on 2020-01-13. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  6. ^ [UN Human Rights Committee]. Article 318. Illegal crossing of border of the Republic of Azerbaijan. 318 (1) – crossing of protected border of the Azerbaijan Republic without established documents or outside of border check-point – is punished by the penalty at a rate from two hundred up to five hundred of nominal financial unit or imprisonment for the term up to two years. 318 (2) – the act provided by article 318 (1) of the present Code committed on preliminary arrangement by a group of persons or organized group either with application of violence or with threat of its application – is punished by imprisonment for the term up to five years. 2 Article 281. Public appeals directed against the state. 281 (1) – public appeals to violent capture of authority, violent deduction of authority or violent change of constitutional grounds or infringement of territorial integrity of the Azerbaijan Republic, as well as distribution of materials of such contents – is punished by imprisonment for the term up to five years. 281 (2) – the same acts committed repeatedly or by a group of persons – is punished by imprisonment for the term from five up to eight years.
  7. ^ "Минск экстрадировал блогера Лапшина в Азербайджан - BBC News Русская служба". 2017-02-07. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  8. ^ "Госдеп США прокомментировал экстрадицию блогера Лапшина" (in Russian). 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  9. ^ "Media freedom alerts". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  10. ^ "Дунья Миятович: В случае экстрадиции блогера А. Лапшина ждет месть властей Азербайджана за слова о Карабахе". 2017-01-27. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  11. ^ "Russian-Israeli Blogger Extradited to Azerbaijan to Fac Charges of Insulting the Leader". EuroNews.
  12. ^ "Москалькова обратится к омбудсмену Азербайджана по поводу блогера Лапшина - РИА Новости, 3 March 2017". 3 March 2017. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  13. ^ "Ժիրինովսկի. Հզոր Բելառուսը ռուս Լապշինին հանձնեց Բաքվին՝ հոշոտվելու". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  14. ^ "Türk siyasətçiləri Lapşinə qarşı Azərbaycanın siyasətini pisləyiblər". February 14, 2017. Archived from the original on January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 13, 2020.
  15. ^ "Czech ambassador: Azerbaijan uses instrument of extradition as political campaign". June 23, 2017.
  16. ^ "Чешский евродепутат в карабахском конфликте | Radio Prague International". 2017-02-24. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  17. ^ "Azerbaijan court sentences blogger to three years in jail – Committee to Protect Journalists". 20 July 2017. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  18. ^ "Блогер Лапшин попросил об экстрадиции в Израиль - РИА Новости, 26 July 2017". 2017-07-26. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  19. ^ "Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin lands in Israel after being pardoned by Azerbaijan – Israel News". 2017-09-14. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  20. ^ Eichner, Itamar (2016-12-15). "Israeli blogger pardoned by Azerbaijan pres. for tresspassing [sic]". Ynetnews. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  21. ^ "Azerbaijan's President Pardons Blogger Jailed For Visiting Nagorno-Karabakh". 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  22. ^ "Jailed Russian Blogger Who Attempted Suicide Gets Azeri Pardon". Bloomberg. 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  23. ^ "Alexandre Lapshin: "Le régime d'Azerbaïdjan enlève et tue ceux qui lui déplaisent"". Le 31 May 2018. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  24. ^ "Arminfo: Alexander Lapshin: I accuse Azerbaijan of attempted murder". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  25. ^ "ECHR starts proceedings over blogger's complaint against Azerbaijan for attempted murder". Armenpress. January 22, 2019.
  26. ^ "LAPSHIN v. AZERBAIJAN (European Court of Human Rights) – LawEuro". Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  27. ^ "Лапшин подал в ЕСПЧ иск против Азербайджана за незаконное лишение свободы и попытку покушения на него" (in Russian). 2019-01-22. Retrieved 2020-01-17.
  28. ^ "Failure to conduct an effective investigation and provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation" (PDF). Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  29. ^ "European Rights Court Finds Baku Authorities Guilty Of Trying To Kill Blogger". Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  30. ^ Human Rights Cometee:Views adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, concerning communication No. 2945/2017

External links Edit