22nd Street News

The Caltech/Pasadena Area Group 22 NewsLetter

Vol.IV No.8-9, August - September 1996.

This is our current newsletter, except that Urgent Actions have been removed since they are not public domain. If you would like a copy of our newsletter (either electronically or via snail-mail) please contact us.

Coordinator's Corner

Looking ahead

Due to vacations and other distractions, the newsletter deadlines
slipped passed us in August and we didn't get the newsletter out prior
to the August monthly meeting.  We do however have a very important
meeting up-coming on Sunday, September 15 at 2:00 PM.  At this meeting
we will be making plans and setting goals for the up-coming year.  We
have two exciting new campaigns to kick-off, Turkey and Refugees, as
well as our on-going work for Tibet and China.  Plus there are the
ususal items for discussion: fund-raising, new member recruitment, and
overall program assessment.  Your input is most welcome, whether you
are a veteran or first-timer.  Just to make sure that this does not
sound like too much work (summer is not over yet!) we are planning to
hold this special meeting at the home of Revae Steinman (2742 Prospect
Ave. La Crescenta) so that we can all jump in the pool to celebrate
once we think we've got the year mapped out.  Please mark your
calendars for this invigorating meeting!

A special note to anyone who sent letters to Dow, Chrysler or Asbury
Corporations regarding their business practices in China (an action
distributed at a monthly meeting a few months back) and received
replies.  The campaign office has supplied us with new instructions on
how to respond to the replies.  Please contact me if you would like a
copy of these instructions.

See you soon!

Martha Ter Maat
Group Coordinator

Upcoming Events

Sunday, September 15, 2:00 PM, Home of Revae Steinman: 2742 Prospect
Ave., La Crescenta Pool Party/Planning Session.  Call or e-mail Martha
or Revae for details.  (Revae: 818-249-1419 revae@ix.netcom.com)

Wednesday, September 11, 7:30 PM Rathskellar Letter-writing Meeting

Tuesday, September 17, 7:30 PM Catalina Rec Room 1 Video/Discussion
night: "Good Evening Mr. Wallenberg!"  This Swedish feature film tells
the remarkable story of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who
helped thousands of Jews escape Nazi Germany.

Thursday, September 26, 7:30 PM Caltech Y Lounge Monthly Meeting

Letter Tally - August

Summer Postcard Action       20
Tibet              3

The Web-tips of the month. August-September  

United Nations Home Page http://www.un.org/  
Here's a source for all your UN-related questions.  Plenty of familiar
stuff-- lost your copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
Find it here.  Need to look up which countries have ratified CEDAW and
when?  What *is* CEDAW anyway? (Convention on the Elimination of all
forms of Discrimination Against Women).  Plus many links to various UN
agencies, conferences and information resources.  And not to be
completely dull, some photo displays and catalogs for publications and
gift sales.

The CIA factbook.
This a request of Mark. The page contains useful info on all 
countries, systems of government, political parties, etc.

Death Penalty Case
*Mississippi seeks Death Penalty for a Minor  

After surviving some of Apartheid's most turbulent years, a South
African child  faces the death penalty in Mississippi for a crime in
which he was little more than a bystander. Azikiwe Kambule came to
the United States two years ago with  his mother.  Azi had no trouble
adjusting academically; he received excellent grades, was placed in
honors classes and joined the school choir.  Yet, Azi found himself
under immense social pressure -- he didn't look, speak or dress like
other children in his neighborhood.

Azi wanted to "fit in" with his peers, and not be the subject  of
their ridicule.  He met and started spending time with youth who were
older and very street-wise.  When Azi's grades began to drop, his
parents began to worry that his new friends were the wrong crowd.
Fearing the worst, they  decided to scrape together the funds to send
Azi to a boarding  school.  Tragically, it was already too late.

One evening, Azi found himself in the middle of a car-jacking  in
which a young African American woman was killed.  Azi himself was so
far  away from the crime scene that he did not hear the gunshots.
When arrested, he was the only one to cooperate with the police.  He
fully explained the  terrible   series of events and tried repeatedly
to help the authorities in  their  investigation.

Despite having no criminal record, no history of violence, being
merely a bystander and providing his full cooperation, Azi has been
charged as an accomplice to capital murder.  Mississippi is seeking
the death penalty against Azi, a child in the tenth grade.

The situation in which Azi finds himself speaks volumes about the use
of the death penalty against children.  During this decade, only five
nations in the world are known to have executed persons for crimes
they committed  when under 18-years-old.  Those countries  are Iran,
Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia . . .and the United States.  Of these
five, America  has executed the most. 

Azi sits today in a Mississippi jail cell, with his life hanging in
the balance.  The District Attorney wishes to seal Azi's fate, and is
quoted in the local newspaper as saying that  because the "jurors in
[predominantly black] Hinds County have a reputation for refusing to
vote for the death penalty," he moved Azi's trial to a predominantly
white county where the outcome would be more certain, if not

Prisoner of Conscience (POC) Case, China/Tibet

Ngawang Pekar, a Tibetan monk arrested by the Chinese government in
1989 for paticipating in a peaceful demonstration and sentenced to 8
years in prison, is the prisoner currently assigned to our group.
Amnesty Int'l. is concerned that he was tortured or otherwise
mistreated after his detention in 1989 and that he was unfairly
sentenced to 8 years in prison simply for peacefully expressing his
conscience.  They are also concerned that he has been denied access to
medical care since being imprisoned.  Many Tibetan monks and nuns in
Drapchi prison in China have been subjected to mistreatment, including
long periods of solitary confinement, and a few have died.

Be aware that AI takes no position on Tibet's claim of independence
from China or China's claim to Tibet, so please refer to the Tibet
Autonomous Region in your letters to Chinese officials - at least in
your first reference - before using a shorthand name such as Tibet.

How can I help?
Help us by writing a letter to this month's selected Chinese official - 
Tao Siju, Minister of Public Security. His address is:

Tao Siju Buzhang
14 Dongchang'anlu
Beijingshi 1000741
People's Republic of  China

State the facts of the case and express your concern about our POC
(underline his name for emphasis) and that he was imprisoned solely for
the peaceful expression of his conscience and that he has been denied
access to medical care since his detention in 1989.  Ask for
information about him and urge that he be released.  

For More Information
Attend our next group meeting where we will discuss opportunities to
inform thepublic about our prisoner and human rights abuses in China
and Tibet.  We will hand out copies of the fascinating article in last
month's issue of Vanity Fair magazine on the Dalai Lama and the Pachen
Lama.  We alsowill discuss our recent actions to publicize the case
and our work with L.A. Friends of Tibet.

The China Campaign
*Dealth penalty cases on the rise in China

Background:  Operation "Strike Hard", a measure intended to combat the 
rising crime rate in China, has greatly increased the number of people 
sentenced to death.  Since April, Amnesty International has recorded over 
1014 confirmed death sentences, and over 800 immediate executions.  AI 
also believes that this is a small fraction of the total number of 
cases.  The number of crimes punishable by death has increased from 21 to 
68 since 1980, with many of the additional crimes being non-violent.  

AI is concerned that the mandate to "swiftly and severely" punish 
criminals may result in the increased use of torture to extract 
confessions from suspects.  AI further believes that defendants are 
experiencing a loss of their basic legal rights in order to expedite 
the judicial process.  Defendants can be tried without warning, without 
being given a copy of the indictment in advance, and without notification 
to all concerned parties, such as the defendant's attorney.  Provincial 
high courts can now approve of death sentences, allowing executions to be 
effected immediately after sentencing.  Amnesty feels that these 
conditions do not allow many suspects to have a fair trial.

Please write a letter to the following people express your concern on 
this matter.  A sample letter is enclosed below.

Premier of the People's Republic of China
LI Peng Zongli
9 Xihuangchenggenbeijie
Beijingshi 100032
People's Republic of China
Salutation:  Your Excellency

Chairman of the National People's Congress
QIAO Shi Weiyuanzhang
Quangguo Renmin Daibiao Dahui
Great Hall of the People
People's Republic of China

Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China
XIAO Yang Buzhang
Beijingshi 100016
People's Republic of China
Salutation:  Your Excellency

Sample Letter: 

Your Excellency,

I am writing to express my concern about the consequences of
the STRIKE HARD Campaign.  I feel that the goals of swift and severe
punishment must not take precedence over granting criminal suspects
fair arrests, trials, and sentences.  Furthermore, the tremendous
increase in the number of executions that have taken place recently is
disturbing.  The death penalty is an extreme punishment and should be
viewed as such.  The cavalier manner in which it is currently applied
is unacceptable.  The overwhelming result of the Strike Hard Campaign
is a tragic mockery of justice.  I hope you will work towards amending
this situation. 


Editor's last words.

Write for the newsletter!  Commentaries, suggestions are always welcomed.
You can also read the newsletter on line at:

http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ aigp22/home.html

Check out the web-tips links.

Roberto (818)796-0876 
http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ rzenit/rzenit.html

Amnesty International works impartially to free prisoners of
conscience-individuals jailed solely for their beliefs, ethnic origin,
language, or sexual orientation, provided they have not used or
advocated violence-to ensure fair trials for all political prisoners,
and to abolish torture and executions worldwide. It is funded by
members and supporters around the world.