AIUSA Group 22 Newsletter June 1999


Wednesday, June 23, The Other Side of Freedom Stories of Torture and
Survival. 7:00 PM Art Exhibit, 8:00 PM Program, The Actor's Gang Theater,
6209 Santa Monica Blvd, one block east of Vine. Tickets are free, but
reservations are REQUIRED.  Donations will be accepted at the door. For
reservations call 310-815-0450 x237.  Sponsored by Amnesty International
and The Program for Torture Victims.  Artists, actors, musicians, and
torture survivors will join forces for a moving evening of art, music,
readings and testimony about surviving torture, healing the victims, and
bringing the perpetrators to justice. Directed by Adele Robbins and Brian
Powell.  Featuring:  Anjelica Huston, Ann Cusack, Akuyoe Graham, Leon
Mobley, Babalade Olamina,  and members of the East-West Players.

Thursday, June 24, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting at 1052 E. Del Mar (between
Catalina & Wilson) -- top floor.

Tuesday, July 13, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting in the Athenaeum
basement.  Corner of California & Hill.

Tuesday, July 13, 7:00-8:00 PM. Amnesty International Information Meeting.
Location: Amnesty International office, 9000 W. Washington Blvd., Culver
City.  For information, call 310-815-0450.  (Sorry about the conflict with
letter-writing, but you may be excused if you prefer the trip to Culver
City this month!)  The featured speaker, Nigerian journalist Kunle Ajibade,
will discuss the historical and present human rights situation in Nigeria.
Ajibade was imprisoned in Nigeria from May 1995 to July 1998 for an article
published in the Lagos-based weekly magazine The News that criticized
General Sani Abacha's government's unfair judicial practices.


Within the last month, Amnesty International released its Annual Report on
human rights issues around the world (the full text is available on line at  as well as a major new report
on the use and abuse of electro-shock equipment such as stun belts by law
enforcement in the United States
(  AIUSA managed
to obtain a good amount of media attention on these occasions, raising the
profile of AI and the general awareness of human rights concerns here in
the US.  I've even seen a definite impact in my own (admittedly
unscientific)  sampling of personal encounters.  This is exciting to see,
with the year-long USA campaign continuing to gain momentum as it moves
into its second half.

As for local stunning developments, the Ronnie Hawkins case is still
sparking away.  Last June in Long Beach, Mr. Hawkins was electro-shocked to
the tune of 50,000 volts in open court for repeatedly interrupting the
judge (i.e. basically making a harmless nuisance of himself).  His
subsequent lawsuit, supported by an amicus brief by AI, led to a federal
court ban on the belt in Los Angeles County, at least for the nonce.  As I
write, however, the county is pursuing an appeal, possibly to be heard
later this month.  This time the federal government (itself a big stun belt
user) is filing an amicus brief supporting LA County's effort to overturn
the ban.  AI will be there again with a brief supporting the ban.  Stay
tuned!  For interesting summer reading, the AI report has a good background
discussion of electro-shock technology and concerns involving human rights

Thanks Emily for organizing the Mike Males talk and book signing at
Borders!  This provided a forum for addressing popular myths about young
people (especially people of color) with a human rights angle in the
context of the USA campaign.  And thanks to all who came to last month's
letter writing,  which was nicely attended; we got a lot of good letters
written.  Some fraction of these terrible cases will be helped by all of
our combined efforts, which is what it's all about, after all.  Please
continue with the letters!  And I look forward to seeing you at the monthly


Larry Romans            626-683-4977
Group Coordinator

USA CAMPAIGN: California Police Brutality
Riverside, Santa Cruz, San Jose Incidents

This action includes information on three cases of police brutality in
individual police departments in California.

Two relate to deaths in police custody involving the use of restraint
procedures known to be dangerous and which AI is urging all US law
enforcement agencies to ban.  There have been numerous deaths or serious
injury caused following police use of these procedures in the USA after
suspects have been "hogtied" (where a suspect's  ankles are bound from
behind to the wrists) or from "choke holds"(where pressure is applied to
the neck, and which cuts off blood supply to the brain) .  Many police
departments have banned the use of these procedures.  However, others
continue to use them.  In recent years medical studies have found an
inherent risk in the use of these procedures,  particularly when used on
someone who is under the influence of drugs and/or in an agitated state.
In October 1995 the National Institute of Justice issued guidelines urging
police departments to avoid hogtying.  Further guideline were issued in
November 1998, and are currently in the process of  being obtained by the

The third case involves the use of  pepper spray.  Pepper spray (Oleoresin
Capiscum - OC - spray) is an inflammatory agent derived from cayenne
peppers and is used by many police departments to subdue suspects.  It
causes closing of the eyes, coughing,  gagging, shortness of breath and an
acute burning sensation on the skin and inside the nose and mouth.
Although the spray has been promoted as a safer and more effective
alternative to chemical mace or impact weapons. There is mounting concern
about its health risks. AI has raised concern about allegations of the
excessive or abusive use of pepper spray by law enforcement agencies in a
number of US jurisdictions in recent years and is calling on the federal
authorities to establish an independent review of its use by law
enforcement and correctional agencies and urging those authorities which
continue to use it to introduce strict guidelines and limitations on its
use, with clear monitoring procedures.

The death of Derek Hayward.  On 7 June 1999 a US District Court jury
decided that Riverside Police Department officers used excessive force and
violated Derek Hayward's civil rights when he died in 1994  after he had
been subdued with a choke hold.  According to reports, Derek Hayward's
sister called police to her apartment  after she reported he was violent
and using drugs.  Derek Hayward reportedly resisted arrest and a police
officer placed him in a choke hold and placed him on the floor, face down.
A coroner's report reportedly found that Derek Hayward died from a
combination of heart and lung arrest brought on by drugs and exertion from
the scuffle with officers  and police restraint manoeuvres.  A lawyer
representing the defense told jurors that police had dealt properly with
Hayward, who was acting irrationally because of drug use.

Action:  Letters to Police Chief Jerry Carroll:

- Briefly introduce AI and the work it does - especially refer to the fact
that AI opposes the torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
of anyone in custody and that one area of concern in this respect relates
to the treatment of people by law enforcement officers;

- say that you are writing regarding the case of Derek Hayward, who died in
police custody in 1994, and particularly in response to the recent finding
by a US District Court jury that police restraint manoeuvres contributed to
his death;

- explain that AI is calling on all US law enforcement agencies to ban the
use of the choke hold and other dangerous restraint procedures, such as
hogtying - procedures known to carry a risk of death or serious injury,
particularly when used on someone who is under the influence of drugs
and/or in an agitated state - and which many police departments in the USA
have banned;

_ express concern at the use of the choke hold in this case;

- point out that the police action in this case appears to have violated
international standards on police use of force, including those contained
in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms
adopted by the Eighth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment
of Offenders in September 1990, which provide that force should only be
used as a last resort and that in all cases it must be proportional to the
threat encountered and designed to minimize damages and injury;

- ask whether an investigation was carried out into Derek Hayward's death
and if so, to be informed of the outcome, particularly whether the officers
involved  were found to have followed departmental policy and whether any
disciplinary measures were taken against any of the officers;

- urge the Riverside Police Department to ban the use of choke holds and
other dangerous restraint procedures they may use, for example hogtying;

Death of Brandon Auger, September 1998.  Brandon Auger, 26, died in custody
in September 1998 after being hog-tied by 7 officers from the San Jose
Police Department, who were subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing in the
case.  According to press reports, although the cause of Brandon Auger's
death was  not due to the way he was restrained, the San Jose Police Chief,
William Lansdowne, made an announcement following Brandon Auger's death
that the police department would stop using  the technique.  He is also
reported to have said that the police officers involved in the incident
"absolutely followed the correct procedure".

Action: Letters to Police Chief William Lansdowne:

- Briefly introduce AI and the work it does - especially refer to the fact
that AI opposes the torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
of anyone in custody and that one area of concern in this respect relates
to the treatment of people by law enforcement officers;

- welcome reports of his statement last year following the death of Brandon
Auger while in police custody in September 1998 that the San Jose Police
Department would stop using the hogtying procedure on suspects;

- acknowledge that you are aware of reports that the restraint procedure
was not the cause of Brandon Auger's death;

_ ask whether the Department is still using this procedure.

Use of pepper-spray on anti-war activist, Steve Argue.  According to
reports, police officers from the Santa Cruz Police Department brutally
beat  Steve Argue, during a protest in Santa Cruz against the NATO bombing
of Kosovo,  on 22 May 1999.  Auger apparently hit a police officer in the
face as he tried to prevent the officer seizing a young woman carrying a
child, and he hit the officer in the face.  Police officers reportedly
pushed him to the ground and started kicking and beating him; they then
forced open his mouth and eyes and sprayed pepper spray directly into them
and reportedly waited for nearly an hour before taking him to a hospital
for medical treatment.  He was subsequently taken to jail, where he was
held for 72 hours and charged with various charges including battery
(assault) of a police officer.

Action: Letters to Police Chief Steven Belcher:

- Briefly introduce AI and the work it does - especially refer to the fact
that AI opposes the torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
of anyone in custody and that one area of concern in this respect relates
to the treatment of people by law enforcement officers;

- say that you are writing about the case of Steve Auger, who was arrested
on 22 May during a demonstration;

- express concern at reports that police officers from the Santa Cruz
Police Department beat and kicked him,  forced his mouth and eyes open,
sprayed pepper spray directly into them and then placed him face down on
the ground;

- express concern that the treatment described, if confirmed, could amount
to torture, cruel,  inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in
violation of international standards as set out under the International
Covenant on Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention
against Torture, both of which have been ratified by the USA;

- state that the police actions used may also have violated the standards
set out in the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and
Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, which state among other things, that
force should only be used as a last resort and that in all cases must be
proportionate to the threat encountered and designed to minimize damage and
injury and that when force is used medical aid should be provided at the
earliest possible moment;

- explain that AI  has raised concern about allegations of the excessive or
abusive use of pepper spray by law enforcement agencies in a number of US
jurisdictions in recent years and is calling on the federal authorities to
establish an independent review of the use of pepper spray by law
enforcement agencies and urging all agencies which continue to use the
spray to introduce strict guidelines and limitations on its use, with clear
monitoring procedures;

- explain that while AI is aware that pepper spray has been promoted as a
safer and more humane alternative to chemical mace or impact weapons in
circumstances requiring the use of force, a growing number of studies have
warned of the potential dangers, including the risk of death or adverse
health effects from pepper spray;

- note also that research has also shown that pepper spray may not be
effective against subjects who are extremely agitated or mentally ill and
that it can be harmful to people with respiratory problems such as asthma
and heart disease - conditions which may not be apparent at the time of use;

- ask whether an investigation was conducted into the incident and if so,
to be informed of the outcome if completed;

- in particular ask whether the actions of the police officers were found
to conform with departmental policy, and if not, what action has been taken
to prevent such incidents recurring in the future;

- ask for information regarding the circumstances in which pepper spray has
been used and is authorized for use within the Santa Cruz Police
Department, including whether the department has imposed any limits on the
circumstances and the number of burst of the spray to be used in any given
incident and whether officers are required to submit reports after using
the spray.


Jerry Carroll
Chief of Police
Riverside Police Department
4102 Orange Street
Riverside, CA 92501

William Lansdowne
Chief of Police
San Jose Police Department
201 West Mission Street
San Jose, CA 95110

Steven Belcher
Santa Cruz Police Department
212 Locust Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Ngawang Pekar, Tibetan Monk

Our group continues to strive for the release of prisoner of conscience
(POC) Ngawang Pekar (naw-wan pee-kar), an approximately 39-year-old Tibetan
Buddhist monk from Drepung Monastery. In 1989, he was arrested by Chinese
authorities and sentenced to 8 years in prison for participating in a
peaceful demonstration in the city of Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, in
support of Tibetan independence. Shortly before he was due to be released,
he was sentenced to an additional 6 years in March of 1996 for allegedly
trying to smuggle out a list of other prisoners to international human
rights organizations. Amnesty International is concerned that, like many
others in Tibet, and, indeed, throughout China, Ngawang Pekar has been
imprisoned solely as a result of peacefully exercising his right to voice
his conscience. There is further concern that, during his incarceration, he
has been subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment including being beaten,
denied medical treatment, and being confined to an iron isolation cell for
3 months.

Unfortunately, at present there remains no news as to Ngawang Pekar's
current status and condition, and as yet we have received no responses to
our barrage of letters and faxes sent in April. However, it must be kept in
mind that the "official party line" in China no doubt prohibits responding
to correspondence from "ordinary foreign citizens" regarding human rights,
as a response in any form essentially admits that a problem may actually
exist and puts the writer at risk of being accused of "collaboration."
Therefore, the lack of response should not be construed to mean that our
goal of raising awareness of Pekar's case among key Chinese officials has
not been at least partially achieved. So keep those cards and letters
coming folks, and hopefully with the aid of letters from "non-ordinary"
citizens such as Congressman Rogan (which we are still working on
obtaining) we can tip the balance of diplomacy in Pekar's favor and obtain
his freedom!

As far as the general situation in Tibet, there is no new news to report
this month. The 10th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre on 4 June has
come and gone and, aside from a large, but peaceful, demonstration in Hong
Kong, few incidents were reported throughout the rest of China. Apparently,
the brutal suppression of pro-democracy activism which has been occurring
in China over the past year succeeded in at least one of its goals.

Though US/China relations are rather strained at present, we must continue
to work on behalf of obtaining freedom for Ngawang Pekar and not give up
hope. Therefore, as it has been awhile since we have written him, we
request that this month you write on behalf of Pekar to the prison governor
of Tibet Autonomous Region Prison No. 1 (Drapchi Prison), where Pekar is
still assumed to be imprisoned. Please write a respectful letter to the
governor informing him that you and Amnesty International are aware of
Pekar's case and urging him to do whatever is in his power to see to it
that Pekar is unconditionally released in a timely manner. Below is a
sample letter to either copy or use as an example in composing your own

Dear Governor:

As a supporter of human rights and a member of Amnesty International, I am
writing to you out of concern for a prisoner last known to be held in Tibet
Autonomous Region Prison No. 1. The prisoner's name is NGAWANG PEKAR.

Ngawang Pekar, a Tibetan monk, was arrested in 1989 for participating in a
peaceful demonstration and sentenced to 8 years in prison. Subsequently,
his sentence was increased by 6 more years. I am concerned that he has been
imprisoned solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of
expression and about reports that he has been beaten and denied access to
medical care since his arrest. I am also concerned that the 6-year increase
in his sentence was an extremely harsh punishment for keeping a list of his
fellow prisoners and that he was subsequently held in an iron cell for 3
months after the list was found.

I respectfully urge you to utilize your position to request that Ngawang
Pekar's case be reviewed and that he be immediately and unconditionally
released in accordance with the international laws to which China
subscribes. If that is not deemed possible, then I would hope that his
sentence could at least be reduced as a demonstration of the regard which
the People's Republic of China has for human rights.

I thank you for your assistance in this important matter and would greatly
appreciate any further information that you may be able to provide.


Address your letter to:
Xizang Zizhiqu Di Yi Jianyu
Lasashi 850003
Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China


Amnesty International Annual Report

Once again it's time to check out the Annual Report.  Look up what's been
happening with human rights around the world from Albania to Zimbabwe.

KOSOVO Q & A: AI's Activities in the Current Crisis

[This Q&A was written before the recent peace agreement, however much of
this information is still relevant to the on-going situation in Kosovo]

The Role of the UN

Is Amnesty International collecting information for the International
Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia?

Amnesty International is not collecting information for the Tribunal, which
is conducting its own investigations. Our research work is aimed at
monitoring and recording human rights violations. On the basis of the
information gathered, we then call on the relevant authorities to
investigate these crimes and ensure that those responsible are brought to
justice. In line with this, the information gathered would be made
available to the Tribunal if requested.

Amnesty International is working to ensure that the Tribunal has adequate
resources to investigate and prosecute human rights violations, and that
NATO cooperates fully with this by making available relevant intelligence
information. We are also working to ensure that any settlement to the
conflict does not provide immunity for persons responsible for crimes
against humanity and war crimes.

What would be the mechanism for future prosecutions of those responsible
for human rights violations in Kosovo?

The Hague Tribunal has jurisdiction for prosecuting those responsible for
serious human rights violations in Kosovo. Any peace agreement should
ensure that all parties and all states contributing to any international
military or law enforcement force fulfil their obligations under
international law to search for, arrest and surrender persons indicted by
the Tribunal.

Within the framework of the current crisis in Kosovo, what could the
international community do to support the work of the Tribunal?

The international community should give highest priority to full
accountability and the bringing to justice of those responsible for all
human rights violations committed in Kosovo. To this end, the Tribunal
should be given all possible support including:

_ full access to all locations in Kosovo and all necessary conditions to
investigate suspected grave sites and other possible evidence of war crimes
and crimes against humanity;
_ access to any civilian or military suspect or potential witness to crimes
under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal;
_ all NATO member states should cooperate fully with the Tribunal's
investigations of gross human rights violations in Kosovo by making
available all relevant information gathered by NATO and its member states
in the past year - including satellite photographs, information from FRY
and Serbian security forces' radio communications intercepted by listening
devices, and any evidence obtained from other sources of intelligence;
_ the Tribunal should receive adequate financial resources from governments
in order to be able to carry out a greatly expanded program of
investigations and prosecutions connected with events in Kosovo.

Peace-Keeping Operations

In the event of a return to Kosovo of Kosovar Albanians, what safeguards
will need to be put in place to ensure their protection?

In the event of a return to Kosovo of Kosovar Albanians, strong safeguards
will need to be put in place to protect all non-combatants - including
minority ethnic Serbians in Kosovo -- from human rights violations and

Certain current proposals include the placing of an international
peace-keeping force in Kosovo to ensure the security of the entire civilian
population. While Amnesty International does not take a position on the
deployment of such a force, it urges the international community to ensure
that any such operation includes a human rights monitoring component and
has clearly defined responsibilities for the sharing of all human rights
information, as well as clear channels of reporting to the High
Commissioner for Human Rights and the Security Council.

If the international community decides to implement a peace-keeping
operation in Kosovo, it should ensure that the operation fully implements
Amnesty International's 15-Point Program for Implementing Human Rights in
International Peace-Keeping Operations. In particular, it should be
instructed to monitor compliance with obligations undertaken to uphold and
protect international human rights and humanitarian law. There should be no
"silent witnesses": peace-keeping personnel themselves should be required
to carry out their duties in strict conformity with these same standards.


The re-designed Doo-Dah T-shirts are now on sale!  The back of the T
features a cute critter looking over the "Animals for the Ethical Treatment
of People" sign, with a "Wag your tail for human rights!" tag line.  On the
front "Amnesty International"  encircles the AI candle.  Available in two
colors, navy and peacock (blue-green), design in white.  Sizes range from
Adult S, M, L, XL, and Youth S, M.  Price is a thrifty $12 per shirt.  Come
to the monthly meeting to get your shirt or contact Martha Ter Maat at
626-281-4039 / for more info.

Run for Freedom Needs Volunteers

The Second Annual 5K/10K Run for Freedom to benefit Amnesty International
will take place in Huntington Beach on Saturday, June 26.  This year area
AI groups are expecting 600 or more runners, which is quite an increase
from the 375 we had for the first run last year.  We are very excited, as
it will raise quite a lot of money and bring Amnesty's message to hundreds
of runners, spectators, and passers-by on the Huntington Beach boardwalk.
Volunteers are needed to help out at the race, doing everything from
handing out water to cheering on runners to keeping an eye on things for
the Kids "Fun Run".

If you have any free time between the hours of 4:00 am and 1:00pm on
Saturday, June 26, please consider joining us at the beach.  You don't have
to get there at 4:00.  You don't have to stay until 1:00.   If you can only
come for a couple of hours, that's great.  Volunteers are especially needed
from 6:30 to 9:00am, which is the busiest time.  If you would like to
volunteer, or if you know anyone who would like to volunteer, please call
Kathy at the Amnesty Office: 310-815-0450 or call Darcie Guy: 949-459-9695.

Read us on line:
Martha Ter Maat, 626-281-4039 / mtermaat@hsc.usc

Amnesty International works impartially to free-individuals jailed solely
for their beliefs, ethnic origin, language, gender 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.