5 August 2005 -- The U.S.-based nongovernmental organization the National Democratic Institute (NDI) today denied allegations it was connected to a plot to overthrow the Azerbaijani government.
Azerbaijani prosecutors said yesterday they arrested the leader of the youth group Yeni Fikir (New Thinking) who said he was planning a peaceful popular revolution during parliamentary elections scheduled for November with financial support from the U.S. organization.
Yeni Fikir said the leader was drunk and bragging when he mentioned NDI. NDI's director in Azerbaijan, Christy Quirk, said the allegations of funding for a revolution were not true. In the United States, NDI regional director for Eurasia Nelson Ledsky denied his organization financed any political party.
"The National Democratic Institute conducts programs in fifty or sixty countries around the world, but never have we financed anybody or any political party. We do not do it. It's against U.S. law and it's against the policies and practices of the National Democratic Institute," Ledsky said.
Azerbaijani prosecutors also alleged that the Yeni Fikir opposition youth movement accepted funds for a revolt from Armenian agents.
See also: Baku Implicates Armenian Intelligence In Alleged Coup Bid
Azerbaijan: West Maintaining Strong Pressure For Democratic Ballot