Global Magnitsky’s sponsor joins Azerbaijan Democracy Act... The bill gaining attention in Congress
Azerbaijan Democracy Act continues to receive support from leading Congress members. Congressman Jim McGovern,(D-MA), a senior House Democrat, Co-Chair of the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, yesterday joined as a co-sponsor of the landmark bill that would impose visa sanctions on Azeri senior leadership amid their human rights violations, TURAN's Washington correspondent reports.
McGovern is also known as a House sponsor of the "Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act,” a bill that prohibits foreign human rights offenders and corrupt officials operating anywhere in the world from entering into the US and blocks their assets.
As TURAN reported earlier, Azerbaijan Democracy Act had got its first co-sponsors last month: Democrat Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Republican Congressman Joe Heck. The bill was announced by Congressman Chris Smith, Helsinki Commission chair, later last year.
In his recent interview to TURAN, Congressman Smith said that he and his colleagues 'are very serious about this bill.' 'We are trying to get President Aliyev to realize that the course he and his government have chosen to repress individuals, journalists, opposition folks, does not end well.'
Smith also urged the U.S. government to raise the issues of political prisoners and lack of media freedom in Azerbaijan during their discussions with the Azeri government, and with president Ilham Aliyev personally.
If passed into law, Azerbaijan Democracy Act denies U.S. visas for senior leadership of the Azeri government and its immediate family members; those who derive significant financial benefit from business dealings with senior leadership or their family; and members of the security or judicial branches.
An exception is made for travel to the U.S. by officials for participation in the OSCE Minsk Group meetings related to settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia.
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