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09 February 2017, 13:09

MFA: Belarus honored its international commitments in Lapshin extradition case

MINSK, 9 February (BelTA) – Belarus faithfully honored its international commitments as it extradited blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan, spokesman for the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dmitry Mironchik told reporters on 9 February, BelTA has learned.

“This is the first time I am talking about the case of Alexander Lapshin, and this is not by chance. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus issued a ruling on 7 February. The Prosecutor General's Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the case yesterday. Extradition is a purely legal matter. Belarus faithfully honored its international commitments with respect to the international legal assistance agreement. Agreements must be observed,” Dmitry Mironchik pointed out.

He also said a few words about the comment of the Armenian side regarding Belarus' membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). “Membership or non-membership in the Collective Security Treaty Organization is absolutely voluntary and is a result of an independent, sovereign choice of this or that country. As you know, Belarus made its choice. The suggestions of expulsion from the CSTO have no legal grounds,” the diplomat pointed out.

“Finally, I would like to comment on the Belarus-Russia relations. Recently, there has been certain misunderstanding between the parties regarding the ways of solving the current issues on the bilateral agenda. Still, I would like to emphasize that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, which is responsible for the county's foreign policy, reiterates its commitment to friendly and allied relations with Russia and hopes for a reciprocal constructive approach in searching for solutions to the current issues,” Dmitry Mironchik stressed.

BelTA reported earlier that blogger Alexander Lapshin was detained in Minsk in December 2016 on the request of Azerbaijan. In January, Belarus General Prosecutor's Office took a decision to extradite Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan. The blogger appealed the decision in the Minsk City Court and later in the Supreme Court. However, his complaint was dismissed and the extradition decision was upheld.

The decision came into force on 7 February. Neither Russia nor Israel, the two countries that Alexander Lapshin is a citizen of, asked the Belarusian side to surrender him.

Alexander Lapshin is facing charges under Articles 281.2 and 318.2 of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan.

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