Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIII Number 7, August 2005


Thursday, September 25, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting Caltech Y is located 
off San Pasqual between Hill and Holliston, south side. You will see 
two curving walls forming a gate to a path-- our building is just 
beyond. Help us plan future actions on Sudan, the War on Terror, death 
penalty, environmental justice and more.

Tuesday, September 13, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the 
Athenaeum. Corner of California & Hill.  The Rathskellar closes in 
summer so look for us and our sign, outside at a table on the lawn!  
This informal gathering is a great for newcomers to get acquainted with 

Sunday, September 18, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book 
Discussion Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., 
Pasadena.  This month we read Andrew X. Pham's Vietnam memoir, Catfish 
and Mandala. (More info below.)

Sunday, September 25, 1:00-4:00 PM.  "Redemption" Film Screening and 
Discussion.  All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave, Pasadena (in the 
Forum).  This film details the life of California death row inmate, 
Stanley "Tookie" Williams. (More info below.)


Hope everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer. I am back to 
work, but it is fairly quiet and I am cleaning out my files and 
organizing in preparation for the new school year. There is less 
traffic and people, as August is the month everyone seems to go on 

Robert and I drove to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley for a week. 
Neither one of us had seen the canyon since we were kids-I forgot how 
spectacular it is. We went to the South Rim and also the East Rim 
(close to the Western edge of the Navajo Nation) which has a watchtower 
overlook. In Monument Valley, we went on a jeep tour and had Navajo 
tacos (on fry bread)! I'll bring the pictures to the next meeting!

On August 26, 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment - the Women's Suffrage 
Amendment to the US Constitution - became law, allowing women full 
voting rights for the first time in American history. Since its 
implementation in 1971, Women's Equality Day has commemorated the 
culmination of a successful civil rights movement by women. Amnesty is 
using this date for collective action to call for ending gender-based 

As the September 30, 2005 expiration date for the Violence Against 
Women Act (VAWA) of 2000 draws closer, we face the threat of losing the 
remarkable gains made in ending domestic violence, sexual assault, and 
stalking. Every day the United States fails to ratify and implement the 
Treaty for the Rights of Women (CEDAW), we send out a dubious message 
about our principles and the value we attach to women's rights. That is 
why we need to make a powerful stand, urging for ratification of CEDAW 
and re-authorization of VAWA.
Next month, visit for an update on a National call-in 
Week to your senators and representatives in support  of the VAWA 
legislation and remind Senators of your support for the ratification of 
CEDAW by the Senate.

Please join LA Women for Juarez and Congresswoman Hilda Solis, Amnesty 
International and Dolores Huerta, for an Inter-Faith Prayer Memorial 
and Vigil for the women victims of violence in Juarez, Mexico on 
Tuesday, August 23rd at 7pm at Our Lady Queen of the Angels Church. 
The service will include dancing, music and excerpts from documentaries 
on the subject and will be followed by a walking vigil through Olvera 

Since 1993, it is estimated more than 400 women have been murdered in 
Ciudad Juarez, the Sister City of El Paso. Of these deaths, 
approximately 100 have been sexual-torture killings of young women, 
ages 12 - 35. The totals of the missing and unaccounted for is 
uncertain but it is estimated to be more than 500.

The plight of the women of Juarez has been well documented in many 
documentary films and art venues, including, "Senorita Extraviada," a 
case study by Lourdes Portillo and in Desert Blood, a novel by Gaspar 
de Alba. No justice or significant legal action has taken place.
The purpose of this event is to bring several groups or organizations 
and the general public in unity and prayer for the end of violence 
against women in Juarez and the end of all violence in general. For 
more info visit: www.losangelesfor An action on 
Juarez follows.

Take care, Kathy

Congressional Resolution on Women of Juarez

Sample Letter (see Kathy's column for background.)

The Honorable (first name, last name)
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. (last name),

I am writing to urge you to become a cosponsor of the (House Concurrent 
Resolution 90/Senate Concurrent Resolution 16) on the murders of 
hundreds of young women in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua, Mexico since 
1993. Representative Hilda Solis and Senator Jeff Bingaman introduced 
the resolution concurrently in the House and Senate. Both were 
introduced with strong bipartisan support.
Amnesty International has reported that nearly 400 young women have 
been murdered in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua since 1993. Of these, 137 
experienced some form of sexual violence before being killed. In nearly 
all these cases investigations were either mishandled or not carried 
out. A Mexican Federal Special Prosecutor has reviewed almost half of 
these cases, and she has already found negligence or incompetence by 
state authorities in over 150 cases. So far, no state authority has 
been held accountable for their negligence and lack of due diligence, 
although an arrest warrant has been issued for the former Chihuahua 
State Attorney General.

Compounding the tragedy is the fact that several persons detained and 
accused of the murders have claimed they were tortured and/or forced to 
confess. In one such case a women from Minnesota and her Mexican 
husband were detained and allegedly tortured into confessing to the 
murder of a young women in Chihuahua city. After extensive reviews of 
the case a judge decided to release the couple for lack of credible 
evidence. Unfortunately, the State Attorney General continues to appeal 
this decision and has not dropped the charges against them.

The murder of young women in Juarez and Chihuahua cities are important 
to the United States because violence against women is unacceptable 
anywhere. These cases often have a direct impact in the U.S. because 
extended families reside on both sides of the border. In addition, this 
violence can affect U.S. visitors to Juarez and Chihuahua.

I urge you to contact Rep. Solis's (or Sen. Bingaman's) office to 
cosponsor this important resolution. Ongoing international attention to 
this tragedy will assist the struggle for justice of the victim's 
families and send a strong message that violence against women is 
unacceptable, wherever it occurs.

Sincerely, Your NAME and ADDRESS

Brother Nguyen Thien Phung

This month our focus is educating ourselves about contemporary Vietnam 
in an effort to understand the context for Brother Nguyen;s 
incarceration.  To that end we urge you to join us for our discussion 
of Catfish and Mandala (see below).  One interesting piece of 
background about the religious order Brother Nguyen belonged to, the 
Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix, is that many refugee members 
of the organization settled in Carthage, Missouri where they founded a 
seminary (there appears to be a branch in Corona as well).  
Photojournalist Christopher Record produced this photoessay about young 
priests in Carthage, "Serving in Shadows" found online here:  If your 
Vietnamese is not too rusty, you can also check out the order's website 
(  We look forward to inquiring as to the order's 
prior involvement in any actions concerning Brother Nguyen or possible 
future collaborations with us.

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

Catfish and Mandala
by Andrew X. Pham

A brilliantly written memoir in which a young Vietnamese-American uses 
a bicycle journey in his homeland as a vehicle to tell his eventful 
life story. The most riveting sections are Pham's exceptional 
evocations of his father's time in a postwar communist reeducation 
(read: concentration) camp and the family's near miraculous escape by 
sea from their homeland. The heart of the narrative is Pham's depiction 
of his five-month adventure in Vietnam, often not a pretty picture. 
Because of his unique status as a budget-minded Viet Kieu (overseas 
Vietnamese), he runs into significant harassment from the police and 
many unfriendly civilians. For every moment of self-discovery and 
enchantment there seem to be ten of disappointment and dispiritedness 
plus nearly constant physical pain from his journey and a bout of 
dysentery. But Pham perseveres. He returns to his home, America, with a 
smile on his face. An insightful, creatively written report on Vietnam 
today and on the fate of a Vietnamese family in America. - Kirkus 
--Winner of the Kiriyama Prize

Stan "Tookie" Williams Event on Sept 25

Group 22 invites you to a screening of the film "Redemption" a film 
based on the life of California death row inmate Stanley "Tookie" 
Williams.  The event is co-sponsored by All Saints Church's anti-racism 
group,  COLORS and their Prison Ministry and will be held Sunday, 
September 25 1:00 - 4:00 PM at All Saints Church, in the Forum (132 N 
Euclid Ave, Pasadena).  A lunch available for $5.00 donation.  The film 
stars Jamie Foxx and Lynn Whitfield and details Williams' journey from 
notorious gang leader to gang-prevention advocate and author of 
anti-gang children's books. Williams has neared the end of the appeals 
process and it is anticipated that an execution date may be set for him 
this fall, along with as many as four other  California death row 
inmates.  The film will be followed by a discussion of the Williams 
case and the status of the anti-death penalty efforts in California.

Oppose Death Penalty Expansion/Anti-Gang Bill

Sample Letter:
Senator Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC   20510-0001

Senator Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC   20510-0001

Dear Senator Boxer/Feinstein,

As your constituent, I urge you to oppose S.155 -"The Gang Prevention 
and Effective Deterrence Act of 2005".  Gang violence is a serious 
problem, but S. 155 would not protect communities and instead would 
violate human rights.  Organizations such as the NAACP, Human Rights 
Watch, the Children's Defense Fund and Amnesty International USA all 
oppose the language in this bill.

Of particular concern are provisions in the bill that would expand the 
number of death-eligible offenses.  The language in this bill is so 
broadly drawn as to create death-eligible offenses in nearly any crime 
related to transportation of a firearm in interstate commerce or any 
crime of violence.  This runs counter to Supreme Court jurisprudence 
that requires death penalty statutes to be narrowly drawn so that only 
the "worst of the worst" offenders are those sentenced to death.

Also, as with state death penalty systems, the federal death penalty is 
fraught with racial bias and disparities.  The U.S. Department of 
Justice (DOJ) released the findings of its review of the federal death 
penalty in September 2000 that provided statistics that reveal 
widespread geographical and racial disparities in the application of 
the federal death penalty.  The death penalty system in the United 
States has sent innocent individuals to death row.  Already, 119 people 
have been released from death rows across the country after being 
wrongfully convicted.  Last year, a University of Michigan study 
identified 199 murder exonerations since 1989, 73 of them in capital 
cases.  The same study found that death row inmates represent a quarter 
of 1 percent of the prison population but 22 percent of the exonerated.
In addition to violating international human rights standards, the 
death penalty system is fatally flawed.  I urge you to oppose S. 155 
and other efforts that would expand the federal death penalty.  Please 
let me know how you intend to address this issue.

Sincerely,  Your NAME and ADDRESS

Concern for Conditions of Detention

Sample Letter:
The Honorable George W. Bush
The President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

I am deeply concerned that the United States has held Ali Saleh Kahlah 
al-Marri without charge or trial in solitary confinement for over three 
and a half years.  He has been held in conditions that appear to amount 
to torture, and has not received adequate treatment for his declining 
mental and physical health. I urgently request that he be given 
appropriate treatment for his physical and psychological health 
problems immediately, and given access to his family.  I further 
request that he be released unless he is brought to a full and fair 
Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri is said to have been denied basic hygienic 
necessities such as adequate bedding, clothing and toilet paper. The 
prison doctors who have seen him have refused to deal adequately with 
his complaints. His lawyers were first allowed to meet him in October 
2004, when he had been in custody for almost three years.

According to a lawsuit filed by his lawyers on August 8, Ali Saleh 
Kahlah al-Marri has been held, shackled, in a cell measuring 
approximately 3x2 meters since June 23, 2003. The small cell window is 
covered with plastic, so he is not able to see the outside world. He is 
allowed only brief periods out for exercise. To make it difficult for 
him to sleep, a portable industrial fan is left on 24 hours a day near 
the door of his cell, and is reportedly turned up high when he is 
deemed to be "non-compliant". Sometimes when he is sleeping guards wake 
him by shaking him, or by banging constantly on his cell door.

As a devout Muslim, Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri prays five times daily at 
scheduled times; however, he has been denied a prayer rug and has not 
been given a clock, making it impossible for him to know when to pray. 
The lawsuit also alleges that prison officers have mistreated and 
disrespectfully handled his copy of the Qu'ran. The US Religious 
Freedom Restoration Act prohibits US authorities from discouraging free 
religious practice unless there is a compelling governmental interest.

The lawsuit also describes how the cell is often made extremely cold 
and how the water supply is sometimes turned off, forcing him to 
defecate on his food tray so that the faeces did not remain for days in 
the same cell where he lives and prays. The lawsuit also states that he 
has developed a number of medical conditions resulting from his 
detention, including "sharp and debilitating tingling pains in his 
leg", "vision problems, including seeing flickering lights and white 
spots...constant headaches, back pain, dizziness, uncontrollable 
tremors...and ringing in his ears." It would appear that he has not 
received adequate medical treatment for these conditions.  The doctor 
who treated him for the tingling pains recommended that a special x-ray 
was needed to assess nerve damage, but that medical procedure has been 
denied.  Further medical recommendations that he be given a chair with 
a good cushion and a thicker mattress were also denied.

The lawsuit says that he "has experienced a number of symptoms that 
demonstrate severe damage to his mental and emotional well-being, 
including hypersensitivity to external stimuli, manic behavior, 
difficulty concentrating and thinking, obsessive thinking, difficulty 
with impulse control, difficulty sleeping, difficultly keeping track of 
time and agitation". His lawyers argue that this behavior is a direct 
result of the prolonged isolation and other inhumane treatment.

During the first year he was held as an "enemy combatant" he was 
interrogated repeatedly. On one occasion he says that interrogators 
threatened to send him to Egypt or Saudi Arabia where, they told him, 
he would be tortured and sodomized, and his wife would be raped in 
front of him. Interrogators are also said to have falsely told him that 
some of his brothers and his father were in jail because of him, and 
promised that they would be released if he cooperated. He has not been 
interrogated for the past year.

Ali-Saleh Kahlah al-Marri reportedly entered the USA legally with his 
wife and five children on September 10, 2001 to pursue postgraduate 
studies. He was arrested in December 2001 and held as a material 
witness in the investigation into the September 11 attacks on the 
Pentagon and World Trade Center. He was subsequently charged with 
credit card fraud and making false statements to the FBI, but in June 
2003, less than a month before he was due to stand trial, you 
designated him an "enemy combatant" and he was transferred to US 
military custody in the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South 
Carolina. He is the first non-US national to be held as an "enemy 
combatant"" on US soil.

His treatment in detention may amount to torture, and I thus urge you 
to ensure that Ali-Saleh Kahlah al-Marri's allegations of ill-treatment 
be investigated and urge that anyone responsible be brought to justice.

Sincerely, Your NAME and ADDRESS

Protest Detention of Gerard Jean-Juste

Sample Letter:
Ambassador of Haiti
Embassy of the Republic of Haiti
2311 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington DC 20008

Dear Ambassador,

I was alarmed to hear of the arbitrary arrest and detention of Gerard 
Jean-Juste on 21 July. He was taken into police custody "for his own 
protection" and then charged with the murder of Jacques Roche.  He was 
abroad at the time of the murder of which he has been accused, but he 
is a prominent opponent of the government. Amnesty International 
considers him a prisoner of conscience, detained solely because he has 
peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression.

Rev. Jean-Juste has been an outspoken supporter of former president 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and critic of the present government, in his 
sermons and in radio broadcasts. On 21 July he attended the funeral of 
journalist Jacques Roche, at a church in the Petionville suburb of the 
capital, Port-au-Prince. He was assaulted and threatened by a mob 
outside the church, who said he was one of those responsible for the 
violence that is sweeping the capital. He was taken to Petionville 
police station by officers from the Haitian police and the UN civilian 
police force, CIVPOL.

At the police station, he was accused of the murder of the journalist. 
Although he was supposedly there simply for his own safety, he was 
locked up in a cell at the police station with another 43 detainees. 
The following day he was transferred to the National Penitentiary, 
where he is in solitary confinement. According to his lawyer, he has 
reportedly been charged with the murder of Jacques Roche. However, Rev. 
Jean-Juste and his lawyers were not shown an arrest warrant or any 
other official statement of the charges. He is one of dozens of 
Aristide supporters who have been arbitrarily detained in this way.

I urge Haitian officials to immediately and unconditionally release 
Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste.  He appears to be a prisoner of conscience, 
arrested and detained solely for the legitimate expression of his 
opinions.  Arbitrary detention is becoming increasingly prevalent 
throughout Haiti and I urge Haitian authorities to put an end to this 

Sincerely,  Your NAME and ADDRESS

Urgent Actions	17
Summer Postcard Action	17
Total:	34
Want to add your letters to the total?  Get in touch with

MEXICO: Adali Penalosa, age 15

Did you know that Amnesty offers a monthly "Children's Edition" Urgent 
Action, designed for young people to write on behalf of other children 
around the world?  This is a terrific resource for parents who want to 
include children in their activist pursuits, as well as for classroom 
teachers. A Spanish version is also available. Visit for more info.  Here's the latest  
action: the language may be simplified but adults are welcome to join 
with the many children writing on behalf of this Mexican youth this 
Penalosa, age 15, was brutally attacked in Guerrero, Mexico, where his 
father is a peasant environmentalist.
Please help Amnesty International ensure the safety of 15-year-old 
Adali Penalosa and his family.

Adali Penalosa was wounded by gunmen on May 19, 2005 as he arrived home 
in Banco Nuevo, Guerrero State, Mexico, with his father and three 
brothers. Adali, his father, and his 19-year-old brother Issac, have 
been seriously hurt; tragically, his brothers Armando, and Adatuel, 
were killed in the attack.

Adali's father, Albertano Penalosa Dominguez, is an environmentalist 
and a founder of the Peasant Environmentalist Organization of the 
Sierra de Petatlan (OCESP). Amnesty International believes that the 
attacks upon and the charges against Albertano Penalosa and other 
Guerrero environmentalists and their families have been made, not 
because of crimes the OCESP members have committed, but because of 
their peaceful protests against excessive and illegal logging in 
forests in Mexico's southern state of Guerrero.

Please write a short, courteous letter to the Governor of Guerrero 
State before October 31, 2005. Tell the Governor that you are worried 
about Adali Penalosa and his family. Explain to the Governor that you 
believe children should not be attacked or killed. Ask the Governor to 
begin a complete investigation into the armed attack on Adali, and his 
brother, because international law, especially the Convention on the 
Rights of the Child (CRC), is supposed to protect young people from 
harm. Thank Governor Torreblanca for reading your letter and urge him 
to let you know what he plans to do to protect Adalí and other innocent 
children in Guerrero from future attacks.

The address for the Governor of Guerrero is:

  [Salutation: Dear Governor,]
Gobernador Del Estado De Guerrero Lic. Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo
  Boulevard Rene Juarez Cisneros No. 62, Edificio B
  Ciudad De Los Servicios, Cp 39075
  Chilpancingo, Guerrero, Mexico

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.