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ANCA Rapid Responder Letter: Stop Torture of Armenian Captives by Azerbaijan

Dear Senator / Representative:

I am outraged by videos posted by Azerbaijani soldiers torturing, mutilating, and killing captured Armenian civilians and soldiers, destroying Christian holy sites, and celebrating their desecration of Armenian graves.

These horrific images – posted during and after the 45-day attack by Azerbaijan and its Turkish/ISIS allies against Artsakh and Armenia – are consistent with the venomous anti-Armenian incitement the Aliyev regime has been promoting for years. Instead of condemning these posts and punishing those guilty of these videotaped abuses, the Azerbaijani government continues to double down on its anti-Armenian hatred.

I ask you to call on both President Trump and President-Elect Biden to demand a stop to the torture of Armenian captives, forcefully condemn Azerbaijani abuses, and call for the immediate release of all Armenians held captive by Azerbaijani forces (an agreed-upon provision of the cease-fire). The U.S. should pursue justice for any and all crimes of war committed against Armenian civilians and soldiers.

I also urge you to contact Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights Bob Destro; Amb. James Gilmore, U.S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and; Andrew Schofer, the U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, for a detailed report on the full scope and details of U.S. government information regarding abuses committed against Armenians during and after Azerbaijan’s aggression.

Finally, I ask you to reach out to the International Committee of the Red Cross regarding the immediate release of all Armenians held captive by Azerbaijani forces. The Human Rights Ombudsmen of both Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) have reported that Baku is not honoring this term of its cease-fire agreement.

As you know, international law – including multiple treaties and conventions to which Azerbaijan is a party – requires that prisoners of war be released and repatriated without delay after the end of hostilities, and treated humanely in all circumstances. Silence on the part of the U.S. government – in the face of globally available social media content documenting violent and even lethal abuses of captive Armenians – only emboldens the Aliyev regime to further escalate its anti-Armenian incitement and violence.

A robust, initial U.S. emergency humanitarian aid package of at least $250 million should, in part, provide desperately needed care for those so terribly abused in Azerbaijani captivity.

I look forward to learning of your actions on each of my requests.


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