Israeli blogger sentenced to three years in prison in Azerbaijan


An Azerbaijani court has sentenced Israeli-Russian blogger Alexander Lapshin to three years in prison, according to local media reports Thursday.

Nagorno-Karabakh is officially part of Azerbaijan.

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict entered its modern phase when the Armenian SRR made territorial claims against the Azerbaijani SSR in 1988.

The judge at the court in Azerbaijan's capital Baku on Thursday convicted Lapshin of illegally crossing the border.

In December, Azerbaijan issued an worldwide arrest warrant for Lapshin on charges of "violating the state border" over several visits to Nagorno-Karabakh along the Armenian border without coordinating with the authorities in the capital, Baku.

Alexander Lapshin, 40, of Haifa, writes a Russian-language travel blog called Life Adventures that chronicles his trips to 122 countries, as well as his life in Israel.

Russian Federation and Israel had attempted to prevent Lapshin's extradition.

Azerbaijan has been under the authoritarian rule of President Ilham Aliyev since he rose to power after the death of his father Heydar. He said Azerbaijan's worldwide influence is steadily growing, noting that the country is a center of multiculturalism. As a result of the war, Armenian armed forces occupied some 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory which includes Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts (Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Gubadli and Zangilan), and over a million Azerbaijanis became refugees and internally displaced people.