Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XII Number 6, June 2004


Thursday, June 24, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting 414 S. Holliston, Caltech Y
Lounge. Help us plan future actions on the Patriot Act, Campaign Against
Discrimination, death penalty, environmental justice and more.

Tuesday, July 13, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum. Corner
of California & Hill. Please note that in the summer, the basement area
where we usually meet is closed. Look for us on the lawn or check with the
receptionist. This informal gathering is a great for newcomers to get
acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, July 18, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion Group.
Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This month we
discuss Greg Campbell's Blood Diamonds. (More info below.)



Hello everyone,

Happy Summer!  The official start of summer is June 21st.

Today was the last day of school-what a relief (although I am working a
little during the summer).  Missed doing the column last month due to work

Group 22 has a new POC, also a Tibetan monk, named Ngawang Gyaltsen. He has
been held in Drapchi Prison since April 1989 and was sentenced to 17 years
imprisonment for "actively participating in criminal activites organized by
a counter-revolutionary group","engaging in espionage and illegally crossing
the national border". Come to our monthly meetings to find out what we'll be
doing on his behalf!

Good News-you may have heard that Leyla Zana, a Kurdish woman POC from
Turkey has been released! She was one of the special focus cases that we
featured in the Doo Dah parade this year and our group has sent many letters
and postcards on her behalf.

There will be an online chat on the crisis in Darfur, Sudan all day on
Monday June 21.  In honor of World Refugee Day, AI's researcher on Sudan and
Uganda, Annette Weber will host the chat. She has just returned from
interviewing Sudanese refugees in Eastern Chad.  To join the chat, go to  or check
later to read the transcripts.

I read about Camilo Mejia in the National Catholic Reporter, and heard about
his case on KPFK, so I was glad to see the sample letter below for him on
the AI website.

Take care, Kathy


The Honorable Les Brownlee
Acting Secretary of the Army Les Brownlee
102 Army Pentagon, Room 3E588
Washington DC 20310-0102

Major General William G. Webster Jr.
60 Macneely Road
Fort Stewart GA 31314

Dear Major General,

I am writing to express my concern for the Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia
Castillo. On May 21, 2004, a US military court sentenced Camilo Mejia of the
Florida National Guard to the maximum penalty of one year's imprisonment for
desertion. He is imprisoned solely because of his conscientious objection to
the war in Iraq and to the human rights abuses he claims to have witnessed
in Iraq. Amnesty International has declared Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia
Castillo a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned as a consequence of his
leaving the armed forces without authorization for reasons of conscience,
even though he took reasonable steps to secure release from his military
obligations. I urgently request that he be released immediately and

Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia Castillo was deployed in Iraq in April 2003.
During this tour of duty he began to question the morality and legality of
the war. He returned home in October 2003 on leave for two weeks and did not
return to duty in Iraq. He filed for conscious objector status on March 16,
2004 affirming his belief that the war and consequent occupation was
"illegal and immoral." In his application Camilo Mejia depicted the
circumstances of detainee's detention and treatment, citing instances where
soldiers were ordered to "break the detainees resolve." Camilo Mejia
described such actions of fellow military personnel as depriving prisoners
of sleep by banging on metal walls with sledge hammers and loading pistols
near the ears of prisoners. He also cited witnessing killing of civilians,
including children, as an incentive for his desertion. Since April 2004 it
has been publicly documented that US agents have been physically and
mentally torturing prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia Castillo was sentenced despite his pending
application for conscientious objector status. His lawyers were not
permitted to present any arguments related to his application during the
trial. Mejia Castillo is currently being held in Fort Still, Oklahoma.

Amnesty International, the largest grassroots human rights organization in
the world, considers Camilo Mejila Castillo to be a prisoner of conscience,
incarcerated for "his conscientious objection to participation in war." I
join Amnesty International in calling for his immediate and unconditional

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS


Call for Corporate Accountability in Iraq

Recent allegations of torture and ill-treatment by Coalition forces in Iraqi
prisons echo the frequent reports of human rights violations that Amnesty
International has received over the past year. As details emerge, it becomes
apparent that private companies operating as military contractors in Iraq
also face challenges as regard their human rights responsibilities. It is
incumbent on them to reevaluate their ethical policies and standards in
order to explicitly address human rights issues. Thus, even as we call on
President Bush to support a thorough, independent and public investigation
into the abuses at Abu Ghraib, we also call on companies to support
independent investigations; to help ensure that any person guilty of
committing acts of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment is
brought to justice; and to acknowledge their human rights responsibilities
by adopting and implementing a comprehensive human rights policy.

BACKGROUND. The publication of photos depicting Iraqi detainees being
physically and mentally abused at Abu Ghraib prison has caused shock and
outrage across the world. However research carried out by Amnesty
International reveals that the abuses allegedly committed by US agents in
this prison facility are not isolated cases.

For over a year, AI has been investigating human rights violations including
allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by Coalition forces.
Testimony from former detainees indicates a pattern of abuse. Detainees were
forced to lie face down on the ground, handcuffed, hooded or blindfolded
during arrest. Our reports indicate that during interrogation they were
repeatedly beaten, restrained for prolonged periods in painful positions,
and subject to sleep deprivation, prolonged forced standing, and exposure to
loud music and bright lights.

Addressing these incidents must be a priority if the Iraqi people are to
live free of brutal and degrading practices. For Iraq to have a sustainable
and peaceful future, human rights must be a central component of the way

Titan's name has appeared in reports of alleged human rights violations at
Abu Ghraib prison. Irrespective of whether Titan employees were involved in
these abuses, we are concerned about the inevitable risks that can arise
when companies choose to operate in environments where human rights are
imperiled. Under international law, all corporations have obligations to
uphold, respect, and protect fundamental human rights. The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) calls upon every individual and every
organ of society, which includes companies and business operations in
general, to promote and protect human rights and "to strive to secure their
universal and effective recognition and observance." In addition, the Geneva
Conventions contain binding standards for military and non-military
personnel during times of armed conflict and the Convention Against Torture
prohibits cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment at all times. Thus it is
essential for Titan to adopt and implement a code of conduct explicitly
referencing the UDHR, helping to guarantee that its employees will not be
implicated in human rights violations. Though Titan has a code of conduct
concerning ethical behavior, it is inadequate in that it does not explicitly
reference the UDHR or address fundamental human rights concerns.

AIUSA Executive Director Bill Schulz has written directly to the CEOs of
both Titan Corporation and CACI International Inc, companies whose employees
have been identified as working in Abu Ghraib prison. Regardless of the
presumption of innocence in the case of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib,
companies such as these have a responsibility -- to their employees, their
shareholders and to the people they serve -- to develop and implement a
comprehensive human rights policy; publicly disclose and report on this
policy; and to incorporate human rights into all hiring procedures,
contracts and training.

The situation in Iraq highlights a recurring issue concerning the legal
accountability of companies, and their employees, contracted to provide
services to the US military, or US companies operating in Iraq. Amnesty
International raised these concerns in the AIUSA 2002 report Unmatched
Power, Unmet Principles: The Human Rights Dimensions of US Training of
Foreign Military and Police Forces ; and in the AI 2003 statement Iraq: On
Whose Behalf? Reconstruction Must Ensure the Human Rights of Iraqis .

Alongside efforts with individual companies, AIUSA has been actively
pressing for reforms of existing laws governing the use of private
contractors by the Departments of Defense and State. AIUSA has pursued these
reforms in the context of the annual budget bill that funds the Department
of Defense, as well as through separate legislative initiatives still in
development. AIUSA has proposed these legal reforms based in part on
research in the report Unmatched Power, Unmet Principles.

AIUSA's recommendations reaffirm the principle of accountability for human
rights violations committed by private contractors and attempt to close any
legal loopholes that would prevent criminal prosecutions of contractor
employees when they commit abuse or violations of international standards.
In addition, the reforms seek to:

- Increase congressional oversight over the use of private contractors;

- Ensure that all recipients of U.S. training, whether by US forces or
private contractors, are fully vetted for past human rights abuses; and

- Ensure that all private contractors receive basic training in
international human rights and humanitarian law.

TAKE ACTION. Please write to the CEO of the Titan Corporation to express
your concern about the human rights risks associated with operating in a
complex environment such as Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and to request
clarification about the company's human rights policies and practices.

Dr. Gene Ray
The Titan Corporation
3033 Science Park Road
San Diego, CA 92121-1199

Dear Dr. Ray,

I am writing to you as a member of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) to
express my concern over the human rights abuses committed in the Abu Ghraib
prison facility and to ask for some clarification of your company's human
rights policies and practices.

Amnesty International condemns the abuses allegedly committed by U.S. agents
in the Abu Ghraib facility in Iraq as torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment. AI has documented a pattern of abuses by U.S. agents against
detainees in this and other facilities and we feel that those responsible
for abuses should be brought to justice in accordance with U.S. obligations
under international and domestic law. Your company has performed services
contracts with the U.S. military that have led to public allegations of
complicity in abuses against detainees by some of your employees. I hope and
expect that Titan will support and facilitate public investigations and help
bring persons found responsible to justice.

I would like to know if Titan has a human rights policy, and if it does what
that policy is. Under international law, all corporations have obligations
to uphold, respect and protect fundamental human rights. The Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) calls upon every individual and every
organ of society, which includes companies and business operations in
general, to promote and protect human rights and to strive "to secure their
universal and effective recognition and observance."

I would like to know what processes and policies your company has in place
to ensure that your employees never commit human rights abuses. In the event
that you do receive information indicating your employees have committed
human rights abuses, I would also like to know how your policies and
procedures would ensure that those individuals are brought to justice.

If you do not have such policies I urge you to:

- Develop and implement a comprehensive human rights policy, which shall
include an explicit commitment to support and uphold the principles and
values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

- Publicly disclose this human rights policy and periodically issue public
reports on its implementation.

- Incorporate a policy on human rights into all hiring procedures, contracts
and training.

I also call on you to make public the results of your own investigations
into any alleged human rights abuses by your employees, and the terms of
your service contracts with the U.S. military with respect to human rights.
Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS



Urgent Action      5
Refugees           1
Iraq Torture      17
China             15
Total             38
Want to add your letters to the total? Get in touch with


Tibetan Monk faces Execution

Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, a religious and community leader in Kardze (Ganzi),
Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, was charged in connection
with several bombings in Sichuan and was given a suspended death sentence on
December 2, 2002.

There are concerns that Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche has been punished solely
because of his peaceful religious and community work with Tibetan
communities in Sichuan, not because of his alleged involvement in the
bombings. Although authorities assert that Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche has
confessed to the crime, a recorded statement was made in January 2003 by the
religious leader: "I am completely innocent! I have always said we should
not raise our hand at others. It is sinful! I have neither distributed
letters or pamphlets nor planted bombs secretly. I have never even thought
of such things, and I have no intention to hurt others!"

Several people connected to Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche have also been implicated
in the case. On January 26, 2003, Lobsang Dhondup, a former attendant of
his, was executed for his alleged role in the bombings. Amnesty
International is concerned that the detention of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche and
the execution of Lobsang Dhondup are serious miscarriages of justice. The
trials of the two men were held in secret, the evidence of their conviction
appears to have been obtained through torture and there were several
irregularities in trial procedures.

Please write letters to Governor Zhang Zhongwei Shengzhang, urging him to
conduct an immediate review of the case of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche (A'an
Zhanxi) and conduct a retrial which is completely open and in line with
international fair trial standards.

Sample letter

Governor of the Sichuan Provincial People's Govt.
Zhang Zhongwei Shengzhang
30 Duyuanjie, Jinjiangqu,
Chengdushi 610016
People's Republic of China

Dear Governor:

I urge you to conduct an immediate review of the case of Tenzin Deleg
Rinpoche (A'an Zhanxi) and conduct a retrial which is completely open and in
line with international fair trial standards. Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche, a
religious and community leader in Kardze (Ganzi), Tibetan Autonomous
Prefecture, Sichuan Province, was charged in connection with several
bombings in Sichuan and was given a suspended death sentence on December 2,
2002. Although Chinese authorities assert that Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche had
confessed his involvement, he recorded the following statement in January
2003: "I am completely innocent! I have always said we should not raise our
hand at others. It is sinful! I have neither distributed letters or
pamphlets nor planted bombs secretly. I have never even thought of such
things, and I have no intention to hurt others!"

Several people connected to Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche have also been implicated
in the case. On January 26, 2003, Lobsang Dhondup (Lousang Dengzhu), a
former attendant of his, was executed for his alleged role in the bombings.
I am alarmed that Lobsang Dhondup was executed after an unfair trial. I urge
you to disclose the evidence used to convict him and explain the connection
with 'state secrets' that led to his trial being held in secret.

I call on you to order a full, independent and impartial investigation into
the allegations that Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche (A'an Zhanxi) has been tortured
and ill-treated, and for the results to be made public and for those
responsible to be brought to justice.

I strongly urge you to take immediate measures to guarantee the safety of
Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche (A'an Zhanxi), including clarifying his whereabouts,
ending his solitary confinement, providing him with appropriate medical
treatment and giving guarantees that he will not be subjected to further
torture or ill-treatment; and to provide him with access to his relatives
and a lawyer of his choice.

Thank you for your time and attention to this very serious matter.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS



Unfair Trial and Medical Concern in Congo
Leonard SAFARI (m) aged 17
Samson BAGANIZI (m) aged 15
Portance HABIMANA (m) aged 17
ISONGO ZABENGA (m) aged 16
KANYARO NYANDU (m) aged 16
Faustin BIRINDWA (m) aged 17
MUDOGO BAENI (m) aged 16
Papy MANGO (m) aged 16
Emmanuel BUZIMA (m) aged 17
Six other child soldiers aged 15 to 17

The child soldiers named above are being held in the city of Goma,
North-Kivu province at Munzenze central prison and in two military detention
centres, the Goma military prosecutor's lock-up and the T2 military lock-up.
They are in overcrowded conditions with poor sanitation and a poor diet.
Some are reportedly in very poor health and being denied medical care.
Leonard Safari is dangerously ill with dysentery and other infections,
whilst other boys are suffering from serious illnesses, injuries or wounds
received in combat. Some of the boys were reportedly beaten at the time of
their arrest.

Three of the children are illegally detained because they are accused of
purely military offences. Faustin Birindwa, detained since September 2003,
is accused of abandoning his post. Mudogo Baeni, arrested in February 2004,
is accused of desertion. Samson Baganizi, detained since January 2004, is
accused of wasting ammunition and reportedly suffered rib injuries sustained
following his arrest. Under DRC military law, military jurisdiction does not
apply to children aged under 18. The other children are accused of offences
under the DRC's common criminal code, including common theft or aggravated
theft, extortion, armed robbery, assault, rape and murder, and in some cases
of a mixture of civil and military crimes. Although accused of crimes
punishable under the common criminal code, the children are still illegally
detained since they are held under military jurisdiction of the military
prosecutor's office. Almost all the children are awaiting trial or passing
of sentence. A number such as Bonane Serushago who was arrested in May 2003
have spent a prolonged period in pre-trial detention.

Only two children have been tried and sentenced. However both were before a
military tribunal, which is illegal under existing DRC law. Ruitamu
Kanyabugoyi, arrested in January 2004, was sentenced to five years'
imprisonment for aggravated armed assault. He is reportedly suffering from
rib injuries sustained during ill-treatment after arrest. Isongo Zabenga,
arrested in June 2003, has been sentenced to death for murder, although he
is not believed to be at imminent risk of execution. He is reportedly
suffering from old bullet wounds to his sides.

The child soldiers served with the RCD-Goma armed group. The children have
tragic personal histories. Some were forcibly recruited and / or recruited
at a very young age. Faustin Birindwa was recruited at the age of nine.
Others, such as Sengiyumva Zabaya, are war orphans.

- calling for the children, including those named above to be immediately
seen by doctors and given appropriate medical treatment;

- calling for the children to be protected from torture or ill-treatment and
from inhuman conditions of detention. Where children allege they have been
tortured or ill-treated, their allegations must be investigated;

- urging for the immediate and unconditional release of Faustin Birindwa,
Mudogo Baeni and Samson Baganizi, who are held for purely military offences,
in contravention of the military judicial code which applies only to those
aged 18 or older, and of all children who are under the age of criminal

- calling for the sentences imposed by military tribunal on Ruitamu
Kanyabugoyi and Isongo Zabenga (who is under sentence of death) to be
quashed as illegal. Adding that these two children should be released or be
promptly re-tried by a civilian court that meets international fair trial

- calling for the release of children accused of lesser offences against the
common penal code, citing international standards which state that the
detention of children should be a measure of last resort;

- in cases of children accused of more serious offences under the common
criminal code, ask that these children be transferred immediately to the
jurisdiction of the civilian judge for children. If children are to be tried
and sentenced by civilian courts, calling for these courts to meet
international standards for fair trial and the courts to take the young age
and best interests of the defendants into consideration when passing

- reminding the authorities that no children should be recruited or used by
the DRC's armed forces and that therefore no child should be detained or
tried by military jurisdiction;

- calling for any child in military detention to be released or transferred
to a civilian jurisdiction.

APPEALS TO: (Please note: if your emails do not go through, please print out
and send by post. Thanks!)

Vice-President de la Republique
Presidence de la Republique
Le Cabinet du Vice-President
Republique Democratique du Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo

Ambassador Faida Mitifu
Embassy of the Democratic Republic of Congo
1800 New Hampshire Ave. NW
Washington DC 20009


Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena
Sunday, July 18, 6:30 PM

Blood Diamonds
by Greg Campbell

First discovered in 1930, the diamonds of Sierra Leone have funded one of
the most savage rebel campaigns in modern history. These "blood diamonds"
are smuggled out of West Africa and sold to legitimate diamond merchants in
London, Antwerp, and New York, often with the complicity of the
international diamond industry. Eventually, these very diamonds find their
way into the rings and necklaces of brides and spouses the world over.
Blood Diamonds is the gripping tale of how the diamond smuggling works, how
the rebel war has effectively destroyed Sierra Leone and its people, and how
the policies of the diamond industry have allowed it to happen.
Award-winning journalist Greg Campbell traces the deadly trail of these
diamonds, many of which are brought to the world market by fanatical
enemies. These repercussions of diamond smuggling are felt far beyond the
borders of the poor and war-ridden country of Sierra Leone, and the
consequences of overlooking this African tragedy are both shockingly deadly
and unquestionably global.


Editor's Last Word:
Read us on line:
Martha Ter Maat, 626-281-4039 /