India fined Amnesty International about $8 million

India fined Amnesty International $8 million after an investigation into its finances, which the organization said was part of a “witch hunt”.

Local human rights organizations have long said they are facing harassment from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist administration for reporting on rights violations, including in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Amnesty’s local bank accounts were frozen in 2020 as part of an investigation, forcing the group to lay off staff and cease campaigning and research work.

The Enforcement Authority of India, the agency responsible for investigating financial crimes, said on Friday that Amnesty International violated foreign funding laws by channeling outside donations to expand its domestic operations.

The statement said Amnesty India was fined $6.5 million for receiving illegal foreign donations and its former chief executive Akar Patel was fined another $1.3 million.

In 2020, the organization said that the freezing of its accounts was part of “an ongoing hunt by the Government of India against human rights organizations over unsubstantiated and motivated allegations.”

Source: AFP.

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