Islam-Ittihad Association and Others v Azerbaijan
Case No. 5548/05
Judgment Date: 13 November 2014
The Islam-Ittihad Association was an Azerbaijani NGO active between 1991 and 2003 and was involved in, inter alia, the repair and maintenance of several mosques, projects aimed at promoting respect for human rights and building a civil society, humanitarian work, and programmes focused on promoting tolerance between different religions in Azerbaijan. In 2002 the Ministry of Justice issued three warnings to the Association, stating that pursuant to domestic law, NGOs must refrain from engaging in “religious activities”. The Association maintained that Azerbaijani legislation did not provide any definition of “religious activities”, and that the Ministry had failed to specify which of its activities were deemed to be ‘religious’. In 2003, following an application lodged by the Ministry of Justice, a domestic court ordered the Association’s dissolution (a decision which was upheld by both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court). The applicants were represented by Professor Bill Bowring, with the assistance of EHRAC.
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