Alexander Lapshin. Photo: RFE/RL

13 September 2017, 00:21

Political analysts link Lapshin’s pardoning with Aliev’s release

Azerbaijani authorities have timed the pardoning of blogger Alexander Lapshin to the release from custody of Mekhman Aliev, Director of the “Turan” News Agency, thus trying to hide their vulnerability to international pressure, the political analysts, interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot", believe.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on September 11, Ilham Aliev, President of Azerbaijan, signed an order to pardon Alexander Lapshin. sentenced on July 20 this year to three years in colony on charges of illegally crossing the country's border. On the same day, the above Mekhman Aliev, and 14 residents of the dwelling settlement of Nardaran, convicted after clashes with the police in November 2015, were released from custody.

"Mekhman Aliev’s arrest has triggered great resonance and protests in the world," said Khikmet Gadjizade (Khajizade), the head of the Far Centre for Political and Economic Studies, "the US Senate has already registered a legislative initiative aimed to impose sanctions against Azerbaijani officials involved in his arrest. Sanctions became inevitable should Aliev were not released; however, the authorities wanted to present it not as a response to pressure, but as demonstration of their goodwill. They also timed his release to Lapshin’s pardoning and CER (conditional early relief) of 14 Nardaran believers," Mr Gadjizade has noted.

Namizad Safarov, an expert in the field of law and a member of the Azerbaijani National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), believes that "both Lapshin’s arrest and liberation were of political nature."

"In recent days, Azerbaijan has become an object of international criticism because of the arrest of journalist Mekhman Aliev; and that was just the occasion to take resonant steps to neutralize this criticism and win political dividends for Baku," the expert said.

Releasing Mekhman Aliev only would be "a manifestation of weakness under the pressure," but his release together with Lapshin and 14 Nardaran believers was an effective step, Mr Safarov has stressed.

Full text of the article is available on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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