By Rashid Shirinov
The Russian Foreign Ministry consistently defends the legitimate interests of all Russian citizens regardless of their nationality, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry Artyom Kozhin said on April 24.
He was answering the question from the media about the Russian MFA’s activity regarding the issue of Russian citizens arrested by Armenian occupation regime.
“The area of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is one of those places, visiting of which is not recommended for Russian citizens. We are fundamentally opposed to the criminalization as a criminal offence of peaceful visits to certain territories of journalists or private citizens,” he said.
“As for Dilgam Asgarov specifically, it must be noted that he, like later Alexander Lapshin, neglected the above-mentioned recommendation of the Russian MFA,” Kozhin noted.
Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev were detained by the Armenian armed forces in July 2014 while visiting their native places and graves of loved ones in the occupied Azerbaijani Kalbajar region. Moreover, Armenian forces killed the third Azerbaijani citizen Hasan Hasanov.
Later, Guliyev and Asgarov were judged illegally by the unrecognized courts of a separatist regime in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. Following an expedited “judicial process” in December 2015, Asgarov was sentenced to life imprisonment and Guliyev to 22 years. Attempts of Azerbaijan to provide justice and to free its citizens are still unsuccessful.
As for Alexander Lapshin, who has the Russian citizenship among others, the blogger illegally visited Azerbaijan`s Armenia-occupied lands and now is charged under the articles 281.2 (appeals directed against state) and 318.2 (illegal border crossing) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan. 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.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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