Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XII Number 10, October 2004


Thursday, October 28, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting Caltech Y has moved. New
Location! Just around the corner from our old meeting place, we move to San
Pasqual between Hill and Holliston, south side. You will see two curving
walls forming a gate to a path-- our building is just behind that sign. Help
us plan future actions on Tibet, the Patriot Act, Campaign Against
Discrimination, death penalty, environmental justice and more.

Tuesday, November 9, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum.
Corner of California & Hill. We are back in our usual location in the
basement recreation area. This informal gathering is a great for newcomers
to get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, November 21, 9:00 AM-2:00 PM (aprox.) Doo-Dah Parade.  Contact us at   if you're interested in

Sunday, November 21, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This month
we discuss David Von Drehle's account of the famous Triangle Shirtwaist
factory fire, Triangle. (More info below.)


Hi all.  Hope you are enjoying the fall and the last few weeks of daylight
savings time. (the change is Oct 31st, when we set the clocks back one
hour!). This is my favorite time of year, even though we don't really have
seasons here.

On October 5th, several group 22 members  viewed the film "The Lost Boys of
Sudan", a production which was shown on the PBS program "POV" (Point of
View) last year.  This film is about two teenage Sudanese refugees from the
civil war between northern and southern Sudan which has been going on for
many years.  These young men from the Dinka tribe (Peter and Santino) were
sent to America and the film follows them through their first year of
adjustment to their new life.  The purpose of this gathering-sponsored by
Amnesty International- was to create interest in the current situation in
Darfur, Sudan (in the western part of Sudan and a different conflict than
the one featured in "Lost Boys").  Everyone was given a packet with
information on Sudan, with letters to send to Sudanese officials and other
resources.  It was an interesting and informative evening and I hope that
the new people who came will come to one of our regular meetings.

There will be an interfaith candlelight march for Sudan on Monday October 25
at 7 PM beginning at the Islamic Center, 434 S. Vermont Ave, Los Angeles.
For information, contact 323-761-8350 or 213-482-2040 ext 245.  This is
sponsored by Progressive Jewish Alliance and Progressive Christians Uniting.
This is not an Amnesty event, but may be of interest.

Group 22 is participating in the Doo-Dah Parade again this year, which will
be on November 21st, a Sunday.  Come to our monthly meeting this next week,
Thursday October 28, to see what's happening and how you can be a part of
it!  We need volunteers! (For those who don't know, Doo-Dah is a hilarious
spoof of the Rose Parade).

The Western Regional Conference will be in Salt Lake City November 12-14.
The theme is "It's In Our Hands, Ending Violence Against Women".  For more
info, contact the Western Regional Office in Culver City at 866-273-4466 or
go on line at:

Take care,

National Day of Action Survey Results!

Thanks to the many activists (including local high school and Group 22
members) who joined forces on September 18 to find out what diamond
retailers are doing (or not doing) to combat the trade in conflict diamonds
 . The day was a huge success -
in 50 cities across 18 states, AI activists visited 246 stores to conduct
the survey and raised awareness among consumers by tabling and leafleting in
their communities. Quick Stats

- Only 27% of shops were able assure us that they had a policy on conflict

- 30% of the shops that said they had a policy were unable to produce a hard
copy of or explain it.

- Only 13% of shops provided warranties to their customers as a standard

- 37% of the shops we visited claimed to be aware of the conflict diamonds
issue. But 54% of them reported an inaccurate definition of the crisis.

- Only 28% of the shops were aware of the Kimberley Process.

- 29% of those who were aware of the Kimberley Process had only a minimal or
limited understanding of it.

- When asked whether consumers inquired about conflict diamonds, 83% of
respondents answered rarely or never.

- 110 shops refused outright to take the survey.

To learn more about the National Day of Action and other developments in the
Conflict Diamonds campaign, visit:

Ngawang Gyaltsen Freed!

The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy announced in September
that China  has released Ngawang Gyaltsen after 15 years in  prison.
( /hr200409.html)

Group 22 just began working on his case a few months ago -- we didn't expect
to get results this quickly! Seriously, congratulations to the  other AI
groups who worked in behalf of Ngawang Gyaltsen for many years.

Ngawang Gyaltsen was ordained as a monk at Drepung Monastery in 1984. He
served 15 years of the 17-year sentence he was given in 1989. He was one of
the Group of Ten, who printed and distributed material concerning human
rights in Tibet. Two of the ten, Ngawang Phulchung and Jampel Jangchub,
received 19-year sentences and are still in Drapchi Prison.  AI Group 4 in
Seattle adopted Ngawang Phulchung as their POC, and you can learn more about
him at the Group 4 website at ngawang.html.

Group 22 joins human rights activists everywhere in wishing Ngawang Gyaltsen
peace and healing in body and spirit after his long ordeal.

Innocence Protection Act Passes Congress!

After many years of letter-writing actions (including several in this
newsletter) the Innocence Protection Act has passed the Congress and is
headed to the President for his signature!

This legislation will help improve access to post-conviction DNA evidence,
will help provide funding so that DNA rape kits can be tested, will help
improve the quality of legal representation in capital cases, and will help
increase the compensation for the wrongfully accused.  As Senator Leahy
said, it is a day to rejoice!

Many thanks to all those who sent appeals. Your actions have made a
difference.  See below for another death penalty action.


Urgent Actions   27
Sudan            13
Colombia          7
Total            47
Want to add your letters to the total? Get in touch with 


KY inmate makes innocence/retardation claims
Kentucky's Attorney General, Greg Stumbo, has asked Governor Ernie Fletcher
to set an execution date of 16 November 2004 for Thomas Bowling (m), white,
aged 51, who was sentenced to death for a double murder committed in 1990.
Governor Fletcher has this week been presented with a clemency petition.

On the morning of 9 April 1990, Tina and Eddie Earley were shot dead outside
their small dry-cleaning business in the city of Lexington, Kentucky. Thomas
Bowling was arrested on 11 April in neighboring Tennessee. His car and a
.357 calibre handgun were found hidden at his family's home in rural

Thomas Bowling's murder trial was held in December 1990. Among the state's
witnesses were two eyewitnesses, the first of whom described the gunman as
six feet tall (Bowling's approximate height) and wearing a black jacket and
hat (Bowling owned such items). He had not been able to pick Bowling out at
a police line-up, however, and also admitted that he may have told police
that the gunman had long brown hair, a dark complexion and possibly a
moustache - none of which described Bowling. The second
eyewitness could not be located at the time of the trial, and instead the
jury was played an audiotape of a police interview with him on the day of
the shootings. His description did not identify Bowling. The state also
presented a witness who said that he had sold a .357 gun to Bowling a few
days before the shootings. Expert testimony identified Thomas Bowling's car
as the vehicle used in the crime and suggested that the bullets fired at the
scene could have come from the retrieved gun. However, the ballistics expert
admitted that there could be millions of guns that could have fired the
bullets. The defense lawyers presented no witnesses at the guilt/innocence
stage of the trial.

At the sentencing, the defense presented six witnesses. A former work
colleague and two jail employees testified to Thomas Bowling's good
character, and his mother, sister and son testified about their love for
him, his marriage break-up, his dependence on alcohol, his recent depressed
mental and emotional state, and his limited mental ability. The jury voted
for a death sentence.

Thomas Bowling's appeal lawyers are seeking clemency on the grounds that he
has mental retardation. In 1990, shortly before Bowling's trial, Kentucky
legislated to prohibit the execution of people with mental retardation. His
trial lawyers did not raise the issue. In 2002, in Atkins v. Virginia, the
US Supreme Court outlawed the use of the death penalty against such
offenders. It left it up to each individual state how to comply with the
ruling. The Court noted that ''clinical definitions of mental retardation
require not only sub-average intellectual functioning, but also significant
limitations in adaptive skills such as communication, self-care, and
self-direction that became manifest before age 18... Because of their
impairments... by definition they have diminished capacities to understand
and process information, to communicate, to abstract from mistakes and learn
from experience, to engage in logical reasoning, to control impulses, and to
understand the reactions of others. There is no evidence that they are more
likely to engage in criminal conduct than others, but there is abundant
evidence that they often act on impulse rather than pursuant to a
premeditated plan, and that in group settings they are followers rather than
leaders. Their deficiencies do not warrant an exemption from criminal
sanctions, but they do diminish their personal culpability.''  Thomas
Bowling's clemency petition argues that he falls within this category. At
the age of 12 or 13, Thomas Bowling's IQ was assessed at 74, which with the
margin of error in such assessments places him within the range for possible
mental retardation if coupled with adaptive deficits which Bowling is said
to have.  He was described as a ''follower'' and easily manipulated.

Thomas Bowling's clemency lawyers have also raised evidence that he is
innocent. The evidence against him is circumstantial - there is no physical
evidence placing him at the scene of the crime, no confession, no
identification of him as the gunman, the weapon linked to him was one of
millions that could have been used in the crime, and while the car used in
the crime was his, there is no proof that he was driving it at the time. The
state did not establish a motive for Thomas Bowling to kill the Earley
couple, whom he did not know and had never met.

The clemency petition suggests that Eddie and Tina Earley may have been shot
because of their involvement with a local family (the Adams family) -
members of which had allegedly run a drug dealing business from a store
situated behind the Earleys' dry-cleaning business. The petition raises the
possibility that one of the Adams family had shot the Earley couple. The
clemency petition also argues that the Lexington Police Department may have
focused on Thomas Bowling rather than pursuing suspects from the Adams
family because it feared further unfavorable exposure following a recent
corruption scandal involving the department. The so-called ''Bluegrass
Conspiracy'' involved a cover-up of the murder of a young woman in the 1970s
to prevent exposure of the involvement of police in criminal drugs activity.

In addition to seeking clemency from the governor, Thomas Bowling's lawyers
are seeking relief in the appeal courts. They are pursuing the mental
retardation issue, which has already been summarily dismissed at the trial
court level. They are seeking police records from the case, including 10
video tapes of witness interviews conducted early in the case which may help
to show whether the police wrongly turned away from investigating other
suspects after Thomas Bowling's arrest. The lawyers are also challenging
Kentucky's lethal injection procedures.

The United Nations Safeguards Guaranteeing the Protection of the Rights of
Those Facing the Death Penalty prohibit the execution of people whose guilt
is not based on ''clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an
alternative explanation of the facts''. Amnesty International opposes the
death penalty in all cases, regardless of issues of guilt or innocence, or
the method used to kill the prisoner.  Today 118 countries are abolitionist
in law or practice. Since the USA resumed executions in 1977, it has
executed 937 people, including 52 this year. During this time more than 100
people have been released from US death rows on grounds of innocence.
Kentucky has carried out two executions since 1977, the most recent of which
was in May 1999.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
your own words:

- expressing sympathy for the family and friends of Tina and Eddie Earley,
and explaining that you are not seeking to condone the manner or their
deaths, or to in any way minimize the suffering caused;

- noting evidence that Thomas Bowling has mental retardation, and that if
this is the case his execution would violate state and federal law;

- expressing concern at the doubts surrounding his conviction, and reminding
the governor of the many wrongful convictions and other errors that have
been revealed in capital cases in the USA;

- calling on the governor to grant clemency.


Ernie Fletcher
Governor of Kentucky
700 Capital Avenue, Suite 100
Frankfort, KY 40601
Fax:  1 502 564-2517
Email via:

Human Rights Lawyers Recieve Threats

Lawyers Renan Hedouville and Mario Joseph, who have worked on behalf of
people who suffered human rights abuses at the hands of the army while Haiti
was under military rule, have been receiving numerous anonymous telephone
death threats. Amnesty International believes both men's lives are in
danger. M. Hedouville has reported the threats repeatedly to the media and
the authorities, but nothing has been done to protect him.

Renan Hedouville is Secretary-General of the Comite des Avocats pour le
Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI), Lawyers' Committee for the
Respect of Individual Liberties. He has been told that he will be killed
unless he stops his work of defending human rights and accusing former army
officers of human rights violations. He and other CARLI members are being
targeted in an attempt to hinder their human rights work.

CARLI is an active human rights organization that documents and investigates
human rights violations via a telephone "hotline". In August 2004 it
protested publicly after a jury acquitted former paramilitary leader Louis
Jodel-Chamblain and senior ex-military police officer Jackson Joanis of the
September 1993 murder of prodemocracy activist Antoine Izmery. Izmery had
been a prominent supporter of former president Aristide.

Mario Joseph is representing prominent supporters of ex-president Aristide's
Famille Lavalas party, who have recently been imprisoned without charge. He
has received numerous death threats because of this. As a lawyer working for
the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), International Lawyers Office,
he defended and assisted victims of human rights abuses committed under the
military government of 1991 to 1994, notably parents of victims of the April
1994 Raboteau massacre, a joint military and paramilitary operation attack
on a shanty town where support for Aristide was strong, in which an
estimated 20 people were killed.

There is no further news of Carline Seide, the young woman whose case was
taken up by CARLI after she was gang-raped by seven men in November 2003.
One of the attackers was alleged to have been a policeman. He was later
arrested, but escaped from jail. Men who claimed to be sent by him had
harassed and threatened Carline, who went into hiding, and members of CARLI.


Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the first democratically elected president of Haiti,
was overthrown in a 1991 coup by former military leaders. Thousands of his
supporters were murdered over the three years of military rule that ended
with US military intervention in 1994, that restored Aristide to power. He
was re-elected in 2000.

In February 2004, after months of unrest and demonstrations, conflict broke
out in the country's fourth largest town, Gonaives, when armed opponents of
the government and former soldiers led by Louis Jodel-Chamblain attacked
police stations and courthouses, forcing the police and local authorities to
flee. The conflict spread throughout the country and Aristide left the
country in disputed circumstances. A transitional government was formed in
early March, but the atmosphere of lawlessness that followed Aristide's
departure remains.

Despite the presence of United Nations forces, a large number of armed
groups are active throughout the country, including former military forces
and militias loyal to former President Aristide. Heavily armed remnants of
the Haitian Army, disbanded by Aristide, are now allegedly patrolling the
streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, saying they intend to "secure" the

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

- expressing concern for the safety of Renan Hedouville, other members of
the Comite des Avocats pour le  Respect des Libertes Individuelles and 
Mario Joseph;

- urging the authorities to publicly declare their recognition of the
important role of human rights defenders and to remind all Haitians that
efforts to curb or hinder their work will not be tolerated;

- expressing grave concern that it is increasingly difficult for CARLI and
lawyers defending human rights to carry out their legitimate work on behalf
of victims of human rights violations due to threats and harassment;

- urging the Haitian government to adhere to its obligations regarding the
protection of human rights defenders, as laid out in the UN Declarations of
Rights and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to
Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms, and the Human Rights Defenders in the Americas resolution of the
Organisation of American States (OAS).

Director General of the Haitian National Police:
M. Leon Charles
Directeur General de la Police Nationale d'Haiti
Grand Quartier General de la Police
12 rue Oscar Pacot
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Salutation: Monsieur le Directeur

Minister of Justice and Public Security:
Monsieur Bernard Gousse
Ministre de la Justice et de la Securite Publique
Ministere de la Justice
19 Avenue Charles Sumner
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre


Embassy of the Republic of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Ave.NW.
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 745 7215


Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena
Sunday,  November 21, 6:30 PM
Triangle: The Fire that Changed America

by David Von Drehle

On a beautiful spring day, March 25, 1911, workers were preparing to leave
the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York's Greenwich Village when a fire
started. Within minutes it consumed the building's upper three stories.
Firemen who arrived at the scene were unable to rescue those trapped inside.
The final toll was 146 -- 123 of them women. It was the worst disaster in New
York City history until September 11, 2001. Harrowing yet compulsively
readable, Triangle is both a chronicle of the fire and a vibrant portrait of
an entire age. Waves of Jewish and Italian immigrants inundated New York in
the early years of the century, filling its slums and supplying its garment
factories with cheap, mostly female labor. Protesting their Dickensian work
conditions, forty thousand women bravely participated in a massive
shirtwaist workers' strike that brought together an unlikely coalition of
socialists, socialites, and suffragettes. Von Drehle orchestrates these
events into a drama rich in suspense and filled with memorable characters.
Most powerfully, he puts a human face on the men and women who died, and
shows how the fire dramatically transformed politics and gave rise to urban

Conscientious Objector Camilo Meija Castillo
A quick sample letter on behalf of Iraq War Vet:

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

Dear Major General Webster:

As you know, Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejia Castillo of the Florida National
Guard was sentenced on May 21, 2004, by a U.S. military court to one year's
imprisonment for desertion despite his pending application for conscientious
objector status. I believe that Camilo Mejia is a prisoner of conscience,
imprisoned for his legitimate conscientious opposition to participating in

After a six-month deployment in Iraq, Camilo Mejia failed to return to duty
in October 2003 after two weeks' leave. He filed for discharge with a
conscientious objector status, stating that he believed the war and
occupation of Iraq to be "illegal and immoral." In his application, he
described his concern at the conditions of detention and treatment of Iraqi
prisoners. These included occasions when soldiers banged on metal walls with
sledgehammers to enforce sleep deprivation and loaded pistols near the ears
of prisoners after being ordered to "break the detainees' resolve." He also
described witnessing the killing of civilians, including children. Staff
Sergeant Mejia's objections to such abuse were made prior to the publication
of photographs showing U.S. agents physically and mentally torturing and
abusing Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. During Camilo Mejia's
trial, his lawyers were not permitted to present arguments relating to his
conscientious objection, including describing the abuse he witnessed. An
appeal against his conviction is pending.

The independent human rights organization Amnesty International considers
Camilo Mejia Castillo to be a prisoner of conscience. I join with Amnesty in
urging you to bring about his immediate and unconditional release. I thank
you for your attention to this matter..

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

copy to:

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

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

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.