The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found Azerbaijani authorities guilty of torturing blogger Aleksandr Lapshin and trying to kill him in a Baku prison in 2017.
The Court said in the unanimous ruling, that Baku must pay compensation of 30,000 euros to Lapshin, who was detained in Belarus in 2016 and extradited to Azerbaijan, where he was charged with illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh).
Lapshin spent three days in the intensive care unit of a Baku hospital before he was deported to Israel, where he made a statement to the press rejecting the Azerbaijani claims.
“I suppose Azerbaijan will need days to come to its senses after what happened. As far as I know, they hoped that everything was under their control in the Court. Fortunately, it did not happen, the Court made a completely legal decision, which, I think, will be appealed by Azerbaijan. However, I assume that the decision will remain in force because it is based on facts,” blogger, traveler Alexander Lapshin says.
Lapshin was imprisoned in Baku five years after his visit to Artsakh, when he was added to the well-known ‘black list of Azerbaijan’. Azerbaijani authorities described the incident in prison as a suicide attempt, whereas Lapshin continued to claim that it was an attempt to kill him. Years later, ECHR ruled that Lapshin’s right to life had been violated. The blogger wrote on his Facebook: “Victory! The ECHR found the Azerbaijani authorities guilty.”
“Azerbaijan has made many tactical and legislative mistakes. First of all, it was not necessary to detain a foreign journalist with such a scandal, then to buy him back from Belarus, going to conflict with Russia, the European Union, Israel and Armenia,” Lapshin says.
After appealing to ECHR, Lapshin continues to receive threats not only from Azerbaijani users, but also from officials. However, according to the blogger, this does not prevent him from continuing his activities and fighting for justice. He will soon be in Europe to speak out about human rights abuses in Azerbaijan.