NGO Leader Asabali Mustafayev Banned from Leaving Country

July 8th, 2016

esabeli

Summary: Hearing 1

 Ilyas Mammadov, representative of the Tax Department, made a brief speech. He noted that the tax penalty calculated for Democracy and Human Rights Resource Center headed by Asabali Mustafayev had not been paid, and on that ground he requested that Mustafayev be banned from leaving the country;
 Asabali Mustafayev replied that he had already been banned from leaving the country at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office since 2014, and he asked for the current petition to be rejected;
 The judge announced the decision after a brief deliberation. According to the decision, the petition of the Territorial Tax Department #2 of the Ministry of Taxes was granted, and Asabali Mustafayev’s right to leave the country was restricted.

Sumgayit City Court, chaired by judge Jeyhun Mammadov, heard the petition of the Territorial Tax Department #2 of the Ministry of Taxes to ban Democracy and Human Rights Resource Center director Asabali Mustafayev from leaving the country.

The court hearing was attended by Ilyas Mammadov, representative of the Territorial Tax Department #2, and Asabali Mustafayev.

Courtroom speeches:

Ilyas Mammadov, representative of the Tax Department, made a brief speech at the hearing. He noted that the tax penalty calculated for Democracy and Human Rights Resource Center headed by Asabali Mustafayev had not been paid, and on that ground he requested that Mustafayev be banned from leaving the country.

Asabali Mustafayev replied that he had already been banned from leaving the country at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office since 2014. “They placed international travel restrictions on me during the investigation of the criminal case launched against NGOs in 2014. The tax authority has calculated a tax penalty of approximately 7000 AZN for Democracy and Human Rights Resource Center headed by me. Additionally, late payment interests have also been calculated for the period of non-payment of the taxes, and right now the total amount stands at 8000 AZN. The decision on the penalty imposed on the organization by the tax authority has not entered into force yet. According to the law, a penalty decision of a tax authority may be appealed to court within a month. And I appealed to Sumgayit Administrative Economic Court for the annulment of the decision citing its unlawfulness. The representative of the tax authority presented a letter to the said court, and the court made a ruling on temporary suspension of the proceedings at the request of the tax authority, not mine,” Mustafayev said.

Court’s decision:

The judge announced the decision after a brief deliberation. According to the decision, the petition of the Territorial Tax Department #2 of the Ministry of Taxes was granted, and Asabali Mustafayev’s right to leave the country was restricted.

Background: On May 13, 2014, the Serious Crimes Investigation Department of the Prosecutor General’s Office launched a criminal case (#142006023) against a number of foreign and local NGOs under Articles 308.1 (power abuse) and 313 (service forgery) of the Criminal Code of Azerbaijan Republic “on the fact of irregularities found in the activities of a number of NGOs of Azerbaijan Republic, and branches or representative offices of foreign NGOs”. Dozens of local NGOs de facto closed down due to the arrest of their bank accounts with reference to the criminal case, and several NGO leaders and activists were arrested or banned from leaving the country.