By Rashid Shirinov
Hikmat Hajiyev, Spokesman for Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry criticized attempts to classify the activities of blogger Alexander Lapshin as freedom of speech, saying that it is not correct.
The spokesman was commenting on U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby’s statement on the arrest of Lapshin in Belarus, which was requested by the Azerbaijani side.
Lapshin illegally visited the occupied Azerbaijani lands, disrespecting Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, and also crossed Azerbaijan’s border once again visiting the country using a different passport.
“The fact that he is a blogger does not allow him violating laws and rules of other countries,” Hajiyev said. “There are enough cases of violation of the Azerbaijani laws in Lapshin’s acts, and the principle of the rule of law should be applied in a uniform way to everyone.”
Lapshin is accused of violating the international laws and the laws of Azerbaijan on the state border and passports in April 2011 and October 2012.
He is a citizen of several countries and has had a criminal conspiracy with Armenians living in the occupied Azerbaijani territories. He illegally visited these territories.
To promote the illegal regime created in the Armenian-occupied Azerbaijani territories, Lapshin presented Nagorno Karabakh as an “independent state” on his page in the social network. Moreover, he expressed support to the “independence” of the unrecognized regime on April 6 and June 29, 2016, by calls aimed at violating the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
For more than two decades Armenia and Azerbaijan are in a state of war following Yerevan’s aggression, ethnic cleansing policy and illegal territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenia keeps under control over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions in a brutal war in the early 1990s.
Despite a fragile ceasefire agreement signed in 1994, Armenia keeps violating armistice with Azerbaijan.
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".
Baku has repeatedly warned foreign officials and diplomats of unauthorized visits to its territories that are occupied by Armenia, calling them contradictory to international law.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry and diplomatic missions pay special attention to the illegal activity in the occupied areas of Azerbaijan. The work is constantly carried out to prevent such illegal actions.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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