Fuad Alasgarov: Lapshin is free to choose where to go
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev always demonstrates his commitment to the ideas and principles of humanism, and the pardoning of Alexander Lapshin should also be regarded as another step taken for humanitarian purposes, the president’s aide for work with law enforcement agencies and military issues, Fuad Alasgarov, told AZERTAC.
“In connection with Lapshin’s case, two legal procedures were considered in parallel – his extradition to Israel, of which he is a citizen, or pardoning. Mr. President signed an order to pardon him after considering his sincere regrets both in trials and his appeals addressed to the Azerbaijani president over the crime he committed, his recognition of the country’s territorial integrity, marital status and especially being a father of a minor child.
Asked about Lapshin’s possible transfer to Israel, Alasgarov replied some media outlets reported that the blogger will be extradited or handed over to another country.
"However, certain juridical notions are mixed up, since the issue of handing Lapshin over to some state following the pardon is not on the agenda. According to international conventions, the purpose of transferring a sentenced person to another country is to ensure the continuation of his/her sentence in the country he/she is a citizen of. Upon Mr. President's pardon order, Alexander Lapshin became exempt from serving the rest of his sentence and he is free to choose where to go. We have information that Lapshin wishes to go to Israel, where he is a citizen. He is in good health and can go to Israel at any time,” he added.
The president’s aide also commented on the release of Mehman Aliyev, director general of Turan News Agency.
He said that Mehman Aliyev personally appealed to the head of state for the measure of restraint in respect of him to be changed.
“The president, once again guided by the principled of humanism, immediately responded to this appeal and recommended considering the possibility of replacing the measure of restraint. I’d like to emphasize that the president’s appeal on this issue to the prosecuting and judicial authorities was not made in the form of an instruction, but in the form of a recommendation,” said Alasgarov.
He noted that the recent decisions on the release of Mehman Aliyev, as well as the conditional release of a number of persons arrested over Nardaran incidents are in line with the ideas and principles reflected in the presidential order (dated February 10, 2017) on improving work in the penitentiary system, humanizing the punishment policy and expanding alternative punishments and procedural enforcement measures not associated with isolation from society.
“By the way, the statistical calculations conducted after the signing of this order indicate that the number of people arrested during the investigation decreased by 30 percent. I should note that the work on the execution of instructions arising from this order is continuing. Thus, proposals prepared to amend the Criminal Code for this purpose have already been submitted to the parliament by the president. Work on amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Execution of Penalties is nearing completion. Amendments to all three codes are likely to come into force at the same time,” he added.
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