Lapshin’s degree of guilt to be defined by Azerbaijani court (exclusive)

Lapshin’s degree of guilt to be defined by Azerbaijani court (exclusive)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 10

By Ilhama Isabalayeva – Trend:

The Constitution and the relevant procedural legislation of Azerbaijan contain all guarantees inherent in a democratic state for an impartial and fair consideration of the criminal case initiated against Alexander Lapshin, Rauf Guliyev, head of staff of Azerbaijan’s Constitutional Court, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

He said the Azerbaijani Prosecutor General's Office filed a suit against Lapshin under the articles of 281.2 (appeals directed against the state) and 318.2 (illegal border crossing) of the Criminal Code.

Legal liability and the degree of guilt of the accused person must be determined by the appropriate court of Azerbaijan, according to Guliyev.

Noting that the judicial system of Azerbaijan is based on the principles of democratic statehood, he added that any person accused of committing a crime, regardless of citizenship, has broad procedural rights secured by the Constitution of Azerbaijan.

These rights also provide for the possibility to apply directly to the Constitutional Court for protection of rights and freedoms, Guliyev said.

As for the Armenian authorities’ statements saying that Lapshin’s extradition is a violation of human rights, Guliyev said these statements are totally groundless.

“Such statements of Armenia, which is behind the decisions of the so-called illegitimate ‘court’ against our innocent compatriots Dilgam Asgarov and Shahbaz Guliyev, once again demonstrate that Armenia is ready to support any act committed against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” Guliyev said.

Alexander Lapshin, a citizen of several countries, has illegally visited Azerbaijani territories, occupied by Armenia.

Lapshin is accused of violating Azerbaijani laws on state border in April 2011 and October 2012. He also was promoting the illegal regime established on Azerbaijan’s occupied lands, presenting Nagorno-Karabakh as an “independent state”. Lapshin also made public incitements aimed at violating Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity on April 6 and June 29, 2016.

On Jan. 17, Belarus issued a ruling for Lapshin’s extradition to Azerbaijan. Lapshin was brought to Azerbaijan on Feb. 7.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

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