CANBERRA, Australia—Members of the Armenian Youth Federation Australia (AYF-AUS), Armenian National Committee of Australia, and the Armenian Students Association (ASA) on January 27 staged a silent protest in front of the Belarusian Embassy in Canberra against the arrest of Russian-Israeli travel-blogger Alexander Lapshin.
The Armenian National Committee of Australia released a statement on Friday condemning the government of Belarus for accepting Azerbaijan’s demand for Lapshin’s extradition.
“The Armenian National Committee of Australia calls on the Australian government, as well as all human rights and civil liberty organizations in Australia and internationally, to join us in condemning this blatant act of the Azerbaijani dictatorship in attempting to ‘export’ its repression of freedom of speech,” read ANC Australia’s statement.
Aram Tufenkjian of AYF-AUS’s Central executive during the protest stated that “Azerbaijan’s is one of the world’s biggest jailers of journalists, and that is the case again after Mr. Lapshin traveled to Nagorno-Karabakh.”
“His denial of free speech is something that we stand against and that’s why we’re here today,” Tufenkian continued.
“Lapshin was detained in Belarus at the international arrest warrant of the Azerbaijani government and his public condemnation of President Aliyev and his dictatorial regime,” said Alex Galitsky, Assistant to the Permanent Representative of the Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) Republic to Australia, at the protest.
“Belarus is now complicit in this denial of free speech and the right to free movement of the people of Azerbaijan and the people of Artsakh.”
“This potentially means a total of 13 years imprisonment for doing nothing more than calling for self-determination and security for the people of Artsakh, and the provision of basic human rights to the people of Azerbaijan.”