By Rashid Shirinov
Azerbaijan is a law-based state and the court's decision requires respect, Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Hikmat Hajiyev told Trend on July 20, commenting on the court verdict regarding Alexander Lapshin.
“Alexander Lapshin was sentenced to three years in prison by the decision of the first instance court. The justice has been served,” said Hajiyev.
He noted that all the rights of Alexander Lapshin were secured during the investigation and at the trial. Moreover, all necessary conditions were created for representatives of the consulates of the countries, citizenship of which Lapshin holds, for contact with him, said Hajiyev.
“Taking the opportunity, we urge the citizens of foreign states not to become a propaganda tool of Armenia, to refrain from illegal visits to the occupied territories of Azerbaijan and illegal actions in these territories,” the spokesman said.
He added that Azerbaijan will continue to take decisive and necessary steps for the prosecution under national and international law to prevent activities against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, and illegal actions in the occupied territories.
Blogger Lapshin was charged with his illegal visits to the Armenia-occupied Azerbaijani lands and a criminal conspiracy with the Armenians living there. He violated Azerbaijani laws on state border in April 2011 and October 2012.
Helped by his accomplices in the occupied territories, Lapshin paid a number of visits to Azerbaijan’s occupied lands, where he voiced support for "independence" of the illegal regime, and made public calls against Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territorial integrity on April 6 and June 29, 2016.
The blogger was arrested in Minsk in late 2016 and transferred to Baku in February 2017.
By the decision of the Baku Court on Grave Crimes, Lapshin will serve his sentence in a general regime colony.
Unauthorized visits to Nagorno-Karabakh and other regions of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia are considered illegal, and any individuals paying such visits are included in the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry's "black list".