Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XII Number 3, March 2004


Thursday, March 25, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting. Help us plan future actions on
the Patriot Act, Campaign Against Discrimination, death penalty,
environmental justice and more.  THIS MONTH ONLY the meeting will NOT be in
the Caltech Y, but in the clubroom above the bookstore (just north of where
Arden Road meets California Blvd, see our map, or the one on the Caltech
website,  Take the stairs at the NE corner of the
building of the bookstore, or the elevator near the stairs. Closest parking
is on California Blvd (then take the path into the campus just east of the
intersection with Arden Rd), or on Holliston Ave near San Pasqual St (then
walk west on San Pasqual where it turns into a pedestrian way).

Tuesday, April 13, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum.  Corner
of California & Hill. This informal gathering is a great for newcomers to
get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, April 18, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This month
we discuss White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones. (More info below.)



Hi all.  Hope you're enjoying the nice weather we've been having lately-I
certainly have!

What's new with Group 22?  Come to one of our 3 monthly meetings (book
group, letter-writing, or monthly planning meeting) and find out!  See
upcoming events section for  dates/times/locations of meetings.

This Sunday March 21, we discussed Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafasi,
a former professor of English literature in a university in Tehran.  It is a
diary of her experiences during the time when the Iranian Revolution began,
the ensuing losses of freedoms for all, but especially women, the war
between Iran and Iraq and the story of a group of young women from her
university classes who meet secretly in her home to discuss various works of
literature.  I found it to be a fascinating look into another culture and
the power of art to transform existence and we had a great discussion about
these themes. Join us this month when we have a little fun with the
environmentally themed mystery novel, White Sky, Black Ice.

Amnesty has begun a major campaign, "Stop Violence Against Women", and is
focusing on domestic violence as a human rights issue and on violence
against women in armed conflict and post-conflict situations.  This campaign
is focusing on domestic violence in Iraq, sexual violence against women in
the DRC occurring during armed conflict, the killing of human rights
defenders in Colombia, and the murders of young women in Juarez, Mexico, and
sexual violence against women in the US Military.

The environmental education fair at the Arborteum (oops!-the LA County
Botanical Garden!) was fun.  Several group members manned the tables,
including Wen and her new baby, Sylvia!   We had several kids (and adults)
sign the petition on behalf of Eloida Mejia Samayoa, a Guatemalan woman who
has received death threats for her work to stop mining in her village (see
action below).  Joyce Wolf has assembled some photos of the fair at her

Another environmental event is coming up, Earth Day, on April 23.  Group 22
usually has a table at CalTech and we need volunteers.  More info will be
coming as the date approaches.

Don't forget the Annual General Meeting in Brooklyn, New York April 16-18.
To register, visit
 or call 310-815-0450.

Hope to see you at one of our meetings soon!

Take care,



Protect Human Rights Protections & End Impunity

Amnesty International is deeply concerned that the human rights situation in
Haiti will worsen in Haiti unless both rebel forces implicated in serious
human rights violations and armed supporters of former President Jean
Bertrand Aristide accused of abuses are disarmed and brought to justice.
Please urge Secretary of State Colin Powell to call upon the international
community to take immediate steps to disarm and detain past and present
human rights abusers.

Background information

The violence that has shaken Haiti in the past weeks has many causes. One
source of conflict stems from disputed parliamentary and local elections in
2000 overwhelming won by the Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party of Jean Bertrand
Aristide. The Organization of American States declared that the voting had
been largely free and fair but that there had been pro-FL irregularities in
the method used to determine whether a second round was needed. On this
basis, opposition parties contested the legitimacy of all those elected.

The political divide between the President, his supporters, and opposition
forces contributed to a stalemate that erupted into violence on numerous
occasions since 2000. In 2001 and 2002 Amnesty International reported
violent attacks between armed supporters of both sides. In 2002, AI reported
an unprecedented wave of violent clashes in November and December involving
supporters of opposing parties and at times the police. At least five people
were reportedly killed and many more wounded in the confrontations. Over the
last six months political violence, particularly against opposition
demonstrators, has grown. In addition, armed anti-government groups have
increasingly committed targeted abuses against government supporters.

On January 12, 2004, the terms expired for sitting parliamentarians. The
opposition had consistently refused to take part in elections to replace
them, citing fears for security. As a result, there was no functioning
legislature, and Aristide was in effect ruling by decree, further weakening
his credibility.

Beginning on February 5, 2004, armed government opponents began attacking
police stations, court houses, prisons and officials' homes in towns
throughout the center and north, forcing the police and local authorities to
flee. Over 100 deaths have been reported since the latest round of fighting
broke out. Two departmental prisons and the National Penitentiary have been
ransacked and many detainees released, including notorious human rights
violators such as Prosper Avril, and Jean-Claude Duperval, former Chief of
Police during a time in which police officers were accused of committing
extrajudicial executions and other serious violations.

In recent weeks, Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed its grave
concern about the presence of notorious convicted human rights perpetrators
such as Louis Jodel Chamblain and Jean Pierre Baptiste (a.k.a. Jean Tatoune)
as leaders of the rebel forces now circulating freely in the capital,
Port-au-Prince. On March 3, AI released a report called, "Haiti:
Perpetrators of past abuses threaten human rights and the reestablishment of
the rule of law." The report summarizes the human rights record of several
former military and paramilitary leaders who are now operating openly in

Sample letter:

The Honorable Colin L. Powell
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Secretary Powell,

I am deeply troubled by recent events in Haiti and concerned about the
safety of the Haitian people amid reports of ongoing violence in their
country. Both supporters of former President Aristide and the armed
opposition have committed serious abuses against the civilian population.
Leaders of the armed rebel forces include notorious figures such as Louis
Jodel Chamblain and Jean Tatoune convicted in abstentia of such crimes as
the 1994 Raboteau massacre in which an estimated 20 people lost their lives.
In addition, several of the rebel forces are reported to include a number of
former Haitian soldiers and paramilitary forces implicated in human rights
abuses in the Central Plateau region of Haiti over the last year. These
rebel forces reportedly rounded up suspected government supporters; their
fate remains unknown. Also, government supporters, including the police
force and unofficial armed gangs, have been accused of increasing numbers of
abuses against perceived opposition supporters and members of the general
public in the past weeks.

Despite the March 3 announcement by rebels that they would disarm, their
promise will remain hollow unless the United States and the international
community take decisive action. I urge you to consider the following
recommendations as essential to establishing a secure environment that
enables respect for human rights, including the well-being of civilians, in
Haiti and throughout the region.:

1. The Multinational Interim Force (MIF) must commit to ensuring the
disarmament of both the rebel forces and the pro-Aristide militias. The
failure to disarm the disbanded Haitian military and paramilitary in 1994
has been one of the root causes of ongoing political violence in Haiti.

2. The MIF must guarantee that notorious human rights offenders with pending
sentences for human rights convictions, such as rebel leaders Louis Jodel
Chamblain and Jean Pierre Baptiste ('Jean Tatoune'), are taken into custody
and brought before the Haitian justice system.

3. The MIF must ensure that the safety of judges, prosecutors, police
officers, witnesses and human rights defenders involved in bringing human
rights abusers to justice is guaranteed.

4. The international community must ensure that under no circumstances are
those convicted of or implicated in serious human rights abuses given any
position of authority, whether in a transitional government or among the
security forces, where they might commit additional violations.

5. The MIF must ensure that those on all sides alleged to have committed
human rights abuses during the conflict are brought to justice. Only in this
way can the rule of law be fully upheld and the cycle of political violence

6. International civilian human rights monitors must be deployed as a matter
of urgency, in addition to multinational military and police personnel, to
act as a deterrent to further abuses and to ensure that accurate and
detailed human rights information is provided to inform every step of the
international response to the unfolding situation in Haiti.

Thank you for taking my concerns into consideration.




Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena
Sunday, April 18, 6:30 PM
White Sky, Black Ice

by Stan Jones

White sky and black ice are two aspects of the physical life in the remote
Alaskan village of Chukchi, where young and ambitious state trooper Nathan
Active is starting his police career. Nathan has decidedly mixed feelings
about Chukchi, despite its often stunning beauty. He was born here to a
15-year-old Eskimo girl, who quickly fostered him off to a white family in
Anchorage. Also, within its boundaries it contains all the problems facing
native Alaskans. Entrapped by poverty and alcohol, too many of them end
their lives with suicide. Even an enterprising local leader, Tom Werner, who
has fought to ban alcohol and to keep a nearby copper mine open to provide
jobs, can't stop two more men from killing themselves in the book's first
few pages.

But to Nathan, with his outsider's sensibilities, these last two suicides
look suspicious. Even though his politically disgraced superior and the
local police warn him off, he stubbornly digs into the circumstances of the
deaths and finds connections to the international consortium that owns the
Gray Wolf copper mine.

Stan Jones, an environmentalist, journalist, and bush pilot, obviously knows
and loves the people and territory he writes so well about in this, his
first mystery.


Urgent Action      19
Death Penalty      18
Just Earth         12
Racial Profiling    9
North Korea         6
Women's Campaign    2
Total              66

Want to add your letters to the total? Get in touch with


Take Action against Domestic Violence in Iraq!

Iraqi women have endured severe hardship for decades. The US-led invasion of
Iraq in 2003 has led to widespread looting and gun crime. An Iraqi women's
rights organization, the League of Iraqi Women, reported that between April
and August 2003 more than four hundred women were "kidnapped, raped and
occasionally sold". Women have been forced to give up work or school, and
are confined in their homes due to daily newspaper reports of kidnappings
and rape.

Background information

"He was very angry and he took his Kalashnikov! The neighbors said: `Leave
her alone'! But then he didn't stop, he shot my legs, I could not feel them,
they were numb, the sun was setting, I was looking at the sky, I said to the
men: `I don't want to die.' They took me to the hospital."

Despite the number of eyewitnesses and the seriousness of the crime, neither
the family nor the hospital reported the case to the police and her husband
was not arrested. The family said it was a matter to be solved within the
tribe. Fatima returned to her father's house after she left hospital. Her
husband expressed regret and offered her compensation, seeking
reconciliation with her through the mediation of elders of her tribe.
However, she is refusing to return to him, despite the pressures.

Iraqi women have endured severe hardship for decades: loss of male relatives
in the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war; mass expulsions to Iran of entire families
declared by the authorities to be of "Iranian descent;" government
repression, including the chemical weapons attack on Kurds in Halabja in
1988; the 1991 Gulf war and the subsequent suppression of the Shi'a
uprising; 13 years of UN sanctions from 1990 to 2003; and the US-led
military action in 2003. Under the government of Saddam Hussein, women were
arbitrarily arrested, tortured, "disappeared" and executed by the
authorities on political grounds. In 2000, scores of women accused of
prostitution were said to have been beheaded in public by a paramilitary

The political and security vacuum following the US-led invasion and
occupation in 2003 has led to widespread looting and gun crime. Daily
newspaper reports of kidnappings and rape have led many women to give up
work or study and they are effectively confined in their homes. An Iraqi
women's rights organization, the League of Iraqi Women, reported that more
than 400 women had been "kidnapped, raped and occasionally sold" between the
end of the war in April and August 2003.

Even in their homes, Iraqi women may not be safe. The breakdown in law and
order after the fall of Baghdad, combined with the disbanding of the police
force by the occupying powers and the proliferation of firearms, has
contributed to a rise in "honour killings" and domestic violence. These
crimes are often ignored by the police, as in Fatima's case. Some Islamist
leaders have exploited the current instability in Iraq to press for their
own agendas, which would entail imposing restrictions on women's freedom of
expression and on women's freedom of movement.

In the home and in the community, in times of war and peace, millions of
women and girls are beaten, raped, mutilated and killed with impunity. Join
Amnesty International's campaign to demand that governments, communities and
individuals act to stop violence against women throughout the world.

Take action against domestic violence in Iraq

Sample letter and petition:

Ambassador L. Paul Bremer III
Presidential Envoy to Iraq
Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority
Department of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Ambassador Bremer,

I am writing to you because I am concerned about the treatment of women in
Iraq. Iraqi women have endured severe hardship for decades. Under the
government of Saddam Hussein, women were arrested, tortured, `disappeared'
and executed by the authorities on political grounds. In 2000, a
paramilitary group publicly beheaded hundreds of women accused of

The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 has led to widespread looting and gun
crime. An Iraqi women's rights organization, the League of Iraqi Women,
reported that between April and August 2003 more than four hundred women
were "kidnapped, raped and occasionally sold". Women have been forced to
give up work or school, and are confined in their homes due to daily
newspaper reports of kidnappings and rape.

As a supporter of Amnesty International, I join in calling on the Coalition
Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council to fulfill its
obligation to provide survivors with an effective remedy to bring those
responsible for human rights abuses and violence against women to justice.

Ambassador Bremer, please:

-Prioritize the personal security of women and the establishment of an
independent and impartial agency to monitor and ensure effective judicial
responses to acts of violence against women, including kidnapping, rape and

-Involve women's rights organizations in the reform of the judicial system,
in particular to strengthen women's rights and equality in law and to ensure
that "honor crimes" and domestic violence are treated as serious criminal



Guatemalan Activists Receive Death Threats

Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Eloida Mejia Samayoa,
President and Legal Representative of Asociacion Amigos del Lago Izabal,
Friends of Izabal's Lake Association, following recent death threats against

Eloida Mejia Samayoa is head of an environmental organization that is
opposed to the reactivation of mining activities in Izabal Department. On 18
February, she was reportedly warned to stop opposing mining activities or
risk being killed. Her landlord was also allegedly told that her house would
be burnt down if she continued her activities. Three days later, a meeting
in the city of Puerto Barrios which was convened by Asociacion Amigos del
Lago Izabal , Friends of Izabal's Lake Association to inform locals about
the ecological impact of mining activities there was interrupted by unknown
individuals. They threatened Eloida Mejia Samayoa by saying, "que cayera su
cabeza", "her head will fall".

The threats against Eloida Mejia Samayoa follow the killing of environmental
activist Enrique Alcantara on 10 February in Puerto Barrios. It is not known
who killed him, but those who carry out illegal logging and
animal-trafficking are among the suspects.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

--expressing concern for the safety of Eloida Mejia Samayoa;

--calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into the death
threats against Eloida Mejia Samayoa, for the results to be made public and
those found responsible to be brought to justice;

--urging that immediate measures are taken to ensure the safety of Eloi da
Mejia Samayoa and all the other members of Asociacion Amigos del Lago
Izabal, Friends of the Izabal's Lake Association


Attorney General

Sr. Juan Luis Florido
Fiscalia General del Ministerio Publico
8a. Avenida 10-67, Zona 1,
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA
Human Rights Procurator

Dr. Sergio Fernando Morales Alvarado
Procuraduria de los Derechos Humanos (PDH)
12 Avenida 12-72, Zona 1,
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA


National Council for Protected Areas
Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas (CONAP)
5a Avenida6-06, Zona 1 Edificio IPM, 7. Nivel
Ciudad de Guatemala, GUATEMALA

Ambassador Antonio Arenales Forno
Embassy of Guatemala 2220 R St. NW
Washington DC 20008


More Juvenile Executions Scheduled in Texas

We continue to campaign for an end to juvenile executions.  Here is a sample
letter for three scheduled executions in Texas.

The Honorable Rick Perry
Governor of Texas
State Capitol
P.O. Box 12428
Austin, Texas 78711
Fax: 1-512-463-1849

Dear Governor Perry:

I write to express my concern for Edward Capetillo, Raul Villarreal, and
Efrain Perez, who are due to be killed in the Texas lethal injection chamber
on March 30, June 23, and June 24, 2004, respectively. All three have been
on death row since the mid 1990s.

International law unequivocally prohibits the execution of people who were
under age 18 at the time of committing a capital offense. Four U.S. Supreme
Court Justices, one short of a majority, have described the execution of
juvenile offenders as "shameful" and a "relic of the past." Since 1998,
Amnesty International has recorded 19 executions of child offenders
worldwide. Thirteen of these executions took place in the United States,
with eight of those occurring in Texas. Seven of these executions in Texas
involved African-American prisoners, six of whom had been convicted of the
murder of a white person.

Studies have consistently shown that the race of the victim is a significant
factor in determining which prisoners are more likely to receive a death
sentence in the U.S. Edward Capetillo, Raul Villarreal, and Efrain Perez,
all of whom are Latino, were convicted of crimes involving white victims.
All three were 17 years old at the time of their respective crimes.

I urge you to do all in your power to stop these executions and bring Texas
into line with international standards pertaining to the sentencing of
juvenile offenders. I thank you in advance for your immediate action on this
urgent matter.


copy to:

The Honorable Colin Powell
United States Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 "C" Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
fax: 1-202-647-2283


Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused
on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental
integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from
discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.