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Tashkent court shuts down U.S. NGO office

Interfax News Agency

A Tashkent court has ruled in favor of the Uzbek Justice Ministry's request to close down the local office of the U.S. non-governmental organization (NGO) Partnership and Academics and Development.

"Tashkent's city court considered the Justice Ministry's petition requesting the closure of the Uzbek office of the Partnership in Academics and Development non-government organization. Having heard the arguments presented by both sides and having studied the witness testimony, the court issued a ruling to close down the organization's representative office in Uzbekistan," a court source told Interfax on Wednesday.

The Justice Ministry requested the closure of the NGO's office, accusing it of illegal operations in Uzbekistan on the part of its foreign employees, the source said.

Fourteen employees of the NGO's Uzbek office were denied accreditation and expelled from the country in 2006 following accusations of missionary activities, he said.

Among other violations alleged committed by the U.S. NGO's office, the Justice Ministry mentioned steps to issue interest-free loans to commercial organizations, to set up unregistered structural divisions, to offer Internet access without a license, and to use unregistered logos.

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