Azerbaijani ‘justice’

After a series of humiliations, sexual assaults, strangulation attempts and a plethora of heinous acts committed by Azerbaijan against the Jewish blogger, Aliyev’s regime opened a criminal case against the blogger anew.

As it is well-known famous Israeli-Russian blogger with Jewish origins Alexander Lapshin was arrested in Belarus, extradited to Azerbaijan by the personal order of the president Alexander Lukashenko, delivered to Baku by Aliyev’s personal jet and held in Azerbaijani prison for seven months in a solitary cell. Not to mention the so called press conference held in Minsk a number of days before Lapshin was sent to Azerbaijan, where Lukashenko was not ashamed to confess, that the court was “instructed” by him. Moreover, Lukashenko has mentioned the Interpol as the authority that actually searched for the Blogger, which was officially denied by the Interpol later.

A number of sources indicate that a bargain has been launched around a Blogger related to the sale of the Belarusian rocket complexes “Polonez” and Israeli drones to Azerbaijan. Lapshin has become a hostage of billions of dollars in arms deals.

However the formal reason of such a was visit to Republic of Artsakh (aka Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) which is considered “illegal” crossing of border according to Article 318 of the Penal Code of Azerbaijan which is fraught with the perspective of being up to five years behind the bars notwithstanding the fact that Azerbaijani prisons are not capacious enough to accommodate numerous foreigners who had the pleasure to visit the Republic of Artsakh. Hence, one may reserve all the rights to claim that the principles of comparative justice were violated with regard to the Jewish blogger. Furthermore, if Azerbaijani regime considers visiting Artsakh from Armenian side an illegal activity it has to show the safest way to visit Artsakh from Baku to the apolitical tourist who may be interested Armenian cultural heritage of Artsakh. But to flex its muscles at home Aliyev’s regime needed a scapegoat and the famous Jewish blogger holding citizenship of three countries at the same time (Israel, Russia and Ukraine) was an ideal candidate.

The whole story is as follows. On 15 December 2016 Lapshin was arrested in Minsk upon the extradition request of Azerbaijani authorities and on 07 February 2017 he was extradited to Baku. As it is mentioned in the file submitted to European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against Azerbaijan the applicant underwent a series of torture, inhumane and degrading treatment: from being stripped naked to sexual assaults, from verbal violence and anti-Semitic expressions in the courthouse (in the presence of guards and other detainees) to strangulation and homicide attempts.

The latter was confirmed by Sheba Medical Centre of Tel Aviv when Mr. Lapshin was sent to Israel right after being pardoned by President Aliyev of Azerbaijan (without being asked for). It was also confirmed by a group of independent Russian medical experts when upon Mr. Kapshin’s request on 14 February 2018. In particular, the latter stated that there was no suicide attempt as it is claimed by Azerbaijan but an imitation of suicide attempt. The hypothesis of homicide attempt was also verified.

While reading the file, besides being abhorred by inhumane actions of Azerbaijani officials, one can hardly omit the fact that besides thriving Armenophobia there is also a well-entrenched Anti-Semitism in Azerbaijan, a close ‘’ally’’ of the State of Israel. Hereby, the acts superficially described above tantamount to violation of Article 2 (right to life) and Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). Notably, prohibition of torture is an absolute right, i.e. not subject to any derogation under any circumstances, while Article 2 is not subject to derogation in peacetime under the established case law (McCann and others v the United Kingdom [GC], no. 18984/91, 27 September 1995).

Luckily, the Strasbourg based ECHR launched proceedings over the complaints of Jewish blogger against Azerbaijan for attempted murder. At the same time, as it is evident from the document issued by Israeli Foreign Ministry, Azerbaijani authorities brought a criminal case against the blogger once again, this time accusing him of appealing against the state (for supporting blogger Mehman Huseynov and number of critical articles about Aliyev’s regime) and putting him on a wanted list. What else can be expected from a state that heroized Ramil Safarov, a murderer who chopped by axe an Armenian soldier in Budapest in the framework of NATO training?

I will keep you informed on the developments of Lapshin’s case in the ECHR.

About the Author
Albert Hayrapetyan holds a PhD in Economics. He is a Senior researcher in ‘Amberd’ Research Center of Armenian State University of Economics and also an Assistant Professor at Chair of International Economic Relations in Armenian State University of Economics. He also holds Master’s degrees from College of Europe and American University of Armenia. His main areas of interest include EU politics, policies and polity as well as the regional integrations.