The Baku Court of Grave Crimes on Wednesday continued the trial on the criminal case of blogger Alexander Lapshin, who is in prison in Azerbaijan.
Addressing the trial, lapshin’s lawyer, Edward Chernin, asked for acquittal of his defendant. The lawyer called charges filed against Lapshin groundless.
“The expert opinion is not based on credibility of evidence, because Lapshin did not make appeals against Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity in his articles,” said the lawyer.
Later, Lapshin made a final statement at the trial and pleaded not guilty.
Lapshin said he feels sorrowful for having caused moral pain in the hearts of Azerbaijani people.
“My guilt before the people of Azerbaijan is only moral, not legal in any way. I understand how important Karabakh is for Azerbaijan. Under no circumstances did I enter into a criminal collaboration with the Armenian authorities,” he said.
Lapshin expressed hope that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be resolved within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan.
"I regret having gone to Karabakh, causing moral pain in the hearts of residents who are suffering from the consequences of the occupation. I had no idea about the occupation. I have been treated only nicely here," he added.
Later on, the jury retired to the advisory room. Following the meeting, a verdict about Lapshin will be announced.
Earlier, a state prosecutor had asked the court to sentence Lapshin for a period of 6.5 years in prison.
The prosecutor had said that Lapshin, after serving his sentence, must be expelled from Azerbaijan in accordance with Article №52 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Lapshin, who has citizenship of three countries, is accused of violating Azerbaijani laws on state border in April 2011 and October 2012.
On 15 December 2016, he was detained in Belarus. On January 17, 2017, Alexei Stuk, deputy prosecutor general of Belarus, issued a ruling on Lapshin’s extradition to Azerbaijan. Lapshin was brought to Azerbaijan on February 7.
Lapshin is charged under the Article 281.2 (public appeals directed against the state) and 318.2 (illegal crossing border of the Republic of Azerbaijan) of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan.