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 818-281-4039 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.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. http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/95fact/index.html 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 predictable. 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 Gong'anbu 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 Beijingshi People's Republic of China Minister of Justice of the People's Republic of China XIAO Yang Buzhang Sifabu Xianguangli 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. Sincerely, * 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.