Authorities block the work of a large group of independent NGOs

At present the activities of about two- dozen independent NGOs, including 40 grants from international donors remain blocked.

The Prosecutor’s Office of Azerbaijan launched an investigation into the activities of international organizations in Azerbaijan. In connection to this investigation many local NGOs have seen their bank accounts freeze until further notice.

Alasgar Mammadov, an expert in media law spoke to Turan news agency on this decision. “Because of the nature of the launched investigation, it is likely that prosecutor’s office does not dismiss the likelihood of these bank accounts being used in criminal cases”.

This investigation was launched following the adoption and entry into force of amendments and changes to the law on NGOs, grants, and state registration of legal entities on February 4, 2014, added Mammadov.

In his evaluation of the situation, Mammadov noted that in no way the freezing of bank accounts should come across as a sign of these NGOs committing illegal activities. The law enforcement bodies refrain from informing the public of actual reasons behind this launched investigation, but all of these organizations are registered entities and provide transparent reports according to domestic regulations.

The reason for this says Mammadov is connected to a government’s decision it is very likely to give following the investigation with regard to the status of these international non-governmental organizations. They will be forced to leave the country, which according to the expert is a politically motivated decision.

The political nature of this decision is clear when looking at the approach towards government-funded NGOs. “It is only the accounts of local NGOs working in cooperation with international organizations whose bank accounts have been frozen. The accounts of NGOs receiving money from the State were not touched” says Mammadov. Because if this, the intentions are clear argues Mammadov […]

At present the activities of about two- dozen independent NGOs, including 40 grants from international donors remain blocked.

It is not surprising that those NGOs whose activities have been stalled focus on democracy, human rights, elections, freedom of speech, and corruption.

This severe approach against the country’s civil society sector reminiscing of the “Foreign Agent” law adopted in Russia, began after the presidential elections of October 2013, which were described by the OSCE mission as undemocratic, not free and unfair.

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