Representatives Titus and Bilirakis Spearhead Bill to Sanction Azerbaijan

WASHINGTON — According to Congressional sources, a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers, spearheaded by Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) and Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), is poised to introduce the Azerbaijan Sanctions Review Act, marking the first time such legislation has been proposed.

If passed, the bill would require the Biden administration to assess, within 180 days, whether the listed Azerbaijani officials meet the criteria for sanctions under current U.S. laws, such as the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act.

The proposed legislation targets Azerbaijani officials who have actively undermined the rule of law and human rights, particularly regarding ethnic Armenian civilians and Prisoners of War. It highlights serious concerns about the Aliyev government’s repression of domestic political opposition, especially in terms of the human rights of Azerbaijanis, and its ongoing actions toward Armenia and Armenians.

“The detention, torture, and mistreatment of opposition figures, activists, and critics, such as Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu, a prominent scholar with ties to the United States, raise significant concerns about due process and the integrity of legal proceedings against dissenting voices in Azerbaijan,” the draft bill states.

The Azerbaijan Sanctions Review Act of 2024 cites Azerbaijan’s military assault on Artsakh in September 2023, the 10-month blockade of the Lachin Corridor resulting in a humanitarian crisis, and the ethnic cleansing of Artsakh Armenians from the region. Additionally, it condemns Azerbaijan’s “continuing detention, torture, extrajudicial execution, and other serious human rights violations against [Armenian] prisoners of war and captured civilians.”