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

Thursday, July 28, 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, August 9, 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 Amnesty!

Sunday, August 21, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This 
month we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Watts Riots by 
discussing Walter Mosley's mystery, Little Scarlet. (More info below.)

Hi everyone.  Hope you are staying cool as the hot weather has arrived! 
I have been busy working on my organizing projects at home and catching 
up with watching (Inspector Lynley Mysteries on PBS!) and reading 
Elizabeth George as well as making an attempt (a few pieces every day) 
to complete a giant crossword puzzle that I received for Christmas!

We all were shocked by the July 7th bombing in London.  Irene Khan, 
Amnesty's Secretary General, sent an email message to AIUSA that all AI 
personnel in the UK were (as far as can be ascertained) safe. She has 
issued public statements expressing AI's deepest sympathy and 
solidarity with the people of London.  "The IS will continue to monitor 
developments and send out appropriate messages and actions that 
emphasize the need to protect people and justice for the victims in the 
framework of international standards and human rights", Ms. Khan said.

Two hours later on July 7th, a memorial service for Peter Benenson was 
held in London. The late founder of AI passed away recently.   Over 500 
people attended the service, including AI representatives and members, 
dignitaries and diplomats, representatives from NGOs and former 
prisoners of conscience.  The Peter Benenson Memorial Fund has been 
established to aid Amnesty's work with young people. To contribute, go 

On a positive note, have you seen the PBS series, "The New Heroes"?  It 
was a 4-hour program shown on two Tuesday nights, starting June 28th on 
KCET.  Several people from all over the world were profiled who have 
made a difference by helping others. They ranged from a woman in India 
who runs train platform schools to teach street children, an American 
optical manufacturer and an Indian opthamologist who have teamed up to 
provide free cataract surgeries for the poor in India, and a man who 
works with young girls to prevent them from becoming child prostitutes 
in Thailand. These are just a few of the people featured. To find out 
more, go to You can get specific 
info and make a donation if you wish.

We are still active during the summer.  Please join us at one of our 
Take care,

Moratorium Bill Introduced in California Assembly!

The death penalty has been a legal method of criminal punishment in 
California for over a hundred years. Although California's Supreme 
Court declared the death penalty an inhumane punishment in violation of 
the state constitution and outlawed it in both 1972 and 1976, the death 
penalty was soon brought back into practice again. Since 1977, eleven 
people have been executed in the state of California, even those having 
evidence of innocence in their case. There are currently 630 people on 
death row in the state. Amnesty International has always been opposed 
to the use of the death penalty in any circumstances, as it is a cruel 
and inhuman punishment that has never been shown to deter crime more 
effectively than any other method.

Assembly Bill 1121
On June 14, 2005, California State Assembly members Paul Koretz (D-West 
Hollywood) and Sally Lieber (D-Mountain View) introduced the California 
Moratorium on Executions Act, or AB 1121. The act would suspend all 
executions in California until January 1, 2009 while the California 
Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice conducts a fair and 
thorough study of the state's criminal justice procedures, to ensure 
that innocent people are not sentenced to death and that there is not 
an disproportionate amount of minorities being sentenced.   A sample 
letter follows:

State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 94249
Dear Assemblyman/woman _________:
I am writing to urge you to support for Assembly Bill 1121, the 
California Moratorium on Executions Act.  I support a moratorium on 
executions in California because I believe: 1) there is a risk of 
executing innocent persons; 2) there is discrimination on the basis of 
race, ethnicity, national origin, geography, or economic status, and 3) 
unfair and unreliable death sentences are caused by inadequate 
representation by defense counsel and/or improper and arbitrary conduct 
by the police and prosecution. I urge you to actively seek passage this 
important legislation to ensure a fair and just legal system.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS
To look up your state representatives visit:

Urgent Actions	2
Summer Postcard Action	48
Vietnam POC 	6
Total:	54
Want to add your letters to the total?  Get in touch with

Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Sunday, August 21, 6:30 PM

Little Scarlet
by Walter Mosley

Set during the Watts riots of 1965, this eighth entry in Mosley's 
acclaimed Easy Rawlins series demonstrates the reach and power of the 
genre, combining a deeply involving mystery with vigorous 
characterizations and probing commentary about race relations in 
America. Easy Rawlins, 45, is - like the rest of black L.A. - angry: "the 
angry voice in my heart that urged me to go out and fight after all the 
hangings I had seen, after all of the times I had been called nigger 
and all of the doors that had been slammed in my face." But Easy stays 
out of the fiery streets until a white cop and his bosses recruit him 
to identify the murderer of a young black woman, Nola Payne.  This is 
Mosley's best novel to date: the plot is streamlined and the language 
simple yet strong, allowing the serpentine story line to support Easy's 
amazingly complex character and hypnotic narration as Mosley plunges us 
into his world and, by extension, the world of all blacks in white-run 
America. Fierce, provocative, expertly entertaining, this is genre 
writing at its finest.

Support the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society

For many people, summer is a time for vacations, picnics and 
recreation. But for prisoners of conscience or those who defend human 
rights in many countries, summer brings no relief from the potential 
danger and sense of isolation they may face. By simply sending a 
postcard, however, you can help support these women and men. 
Information on several cases of concern to Amnesty International is 
available on the AIUSA website ( We include one 
here. Send cards expressing your support and encouragement. Some 
-	Keep messages simple, such as: "We are thinking of you, and hope you 
are well."
-	Don't discuss the politics of the country or the accusations against 
any prisoners.
-	Please be sensitive to different cultural and religious mores. 
Picture postcards are good to use, but revealing pictures of men or 
women or references to alcoholic drinks could be offensive.
-	International Airmail postage is generally 70 cents for standard size 
postcards and 80 cents for 1-page letters. Mark cards/letters "AIR 
-	You may send cards until August 31, 2005.

Send cards to Russian-Chechen Friendship Society

The Russian-Chechen Friendship Society (RCFS) is a non-governmental 
organization that monitors human rights violations in Chechnya and 
other parts of the North Caucasus, producing daily press releases on 
"disappearances" and other serious human rights violations. The 
Society, which has offices in Nizhnii Novgorod and in the North 
Caucasus, also produces a newspaper jointly with the Nizhnii Novgorod 
Human Rights Society. Russian authorities seem to be waging a campaign 
of harassment and intimidation against the RCFS in response to the 
Society's work for human rights. Since the organization was officially 
registered in 2000, RCFS members in the North Caucasus have been 
subject to torture, ill-treatment, "disappearances," and alleged 
extrajudicial executions. On January 9, 2004, Russian federal forces 
reportedly entered the home of RCFS activist Aslan Davletukaev, a 
29-year-old father of young children, and threatened to kill him and 
his wife if he didn't go with them. When Davletukaev's father asked if 
his son had committed a crime, one of the armed men allegedly replied, 
"He is guilty of being Chechen." Seven days later, Aslan Davletukaev's 
mutilated body was found near the town of Gudermes in Chechnya. In 
2005, the campaign of harassment has extended to include a criminal 
investigation into articles allegedly published by RCFS, an examination 
of the Society by the tax authorities, and moves by the Ministry of 
Justice to close the organization. RCFS staff member Oksana Chelysheva 
has been the subject of threatening leaflets. Please send cards of 
support to:

Society of Russian-Chechen Friendship
ul. Admirala Vaniunina, dom 2,
komnata 27
603106 Nizhnii Novgorod

Brother Nguyen Thien Phung

Group 22 recently adopted the case of Vietnam prisoner of conscience 
Brother Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan). Please join us as we learn about his 
case and begin educating ourselves about human rights in Vietnam.

The Vietnam government has made significant progress regarding 
religious freedom, according to U.S. Dept. of State reports. 
( On May 5, 2005, spokesman Richard Boucher 
said that Vietnam "enacted significant legislative reforms that hold 
the promise of major improvements in religious freedom in the near 
future....These new laws and policies provide increased latitude and 
protection for religious belief and practice."

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai visited President Bush at the White House 
on June 21, 2005. A report at (title: Bush, Vietnam leader 
sign religious accord) says " 'We signed a landmark agreement that will 
make it easier for people to worship freely in Vietnam,' Bush told 
reporters, without elaborating."

Since President Bush accepted an invitation to visit Vietnam in 2006, 
the issue of religious freedom in Vietnam will probably continue to be 
prominent throughout the next year. We should take this into 
consideration as we plan our group's future work for our POC. What 
better way for Vietnam to demonstrate commitment to religious freedom 
and human rights than to release Brother Nguyen Thien Phung!

This month let's write to the Prime Minister in care of the Embassy. 
Here is a sample letter that you can copy or use as a guide.

Prime Minister Phan Van Khai
c/o Embassy of Vietnam
1233 20th Street N.W., Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Your Excellency,

As a member of Amnesty International, I welcomed the release earlier 
this year of Father Nguyen Van Ly and other prisoners of conscience. I 
hope these releases demonstrate a renewed commitment by your government 
to honor and protect the rights of all Vietnamese to peacefully express 
their opinions.
I am especially concerned about Brother Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan), in 
prison camp Z30A, Xuan Loc, Dong Nai province. He was arrested in 1987 
during raids on Thu Duc Monaastery near Ho Chi Minh City, for holding 
training courses and distributing religious books without government 
permission. He was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment plus 5 years of 
house arrest.

I urge you to ensure that in accordance with international standards 
Brother Nguyen Thien Phung receives adequate food and necessary medical 
I believe that Brother Nguyen Thien Phung was imprisoned solely for 
peacefully exercising his right to freedom of religion and expression 
by his activities as a member of the Congregation of the Mother 
Coredemptrix. The Vietnamese government has the responsibility to 
uphold the right of freedom of expression and religion for everyone in 
Vietnam, and I therefore respectfully urge you to release Brother 
Nguyen Thien Phung immediately and without condition.

Sincerely, (your name and address)
Postage for overseas letters is 80 cents.

Mexican Environmentalists Threatened

Once again, peasant environmentalists in Guerrero state are under 

Felipe Arreaga (m) - environmental activist

Thirteen other former members of the Organizacion Campesina Ecologista 
de la Sierra de Petatlan (OCESP), Peasant Environmentalist Organization 
of the Sierra de Petatlan

Celsa Valdovinos (f), wife of Filepe Arreaga and leader of Organizacion 
de Mujeres Ecologistas, Women's Environmentalist Organization
New names:	Albertano Penalosa Dominguez, (m) environmental activist and 
founder member of OCESP
	Adal Penalosa, aged 15  ] his sons
	Isaac Penalosa, aged 19  ]

Albertano Penalosa Dominguez is one of the founders of Organizacion 
Campesina Ecologista de la Sierra de Petatlan (OCESP), Peasant 
Environmentalist Organization of the Sierra de Petatlan along with 
prisoner of conscience, Felipe Arreaga. He and his family have been 
attacked by gunmen resulting in the murder of two of his sons.

On 19 May, Albertano Penalosa Dominguez and his four sons were ambushed 
by unknown individuals as they were arriving home in the community of 
Banco Nuevo in the municipality of Petatlan, Guerrero State. 
Twenty-year old Armando and nine-year old Adatuel were killed, while 
fifteen-year old Adal and nineteen-year old Isaac were seriously 
wounded along with their father. Amnesty International is seriously 
concerned for their safety and that of other environmental activists in 

Albertano Penalosa Dominguez is one of the 14 OCESP leaders against 
whom arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the murder of 
Abel Bautista committed in 1998 for which fellow environmental activist 
Felipe Arreaga has been detained and is on trial. Amnesty International 
believes these legal procedures to be politically motivated, in an 
apparent reprisal for the local environmentalists' role in peaceful 
protests against the excessive and illegal logging of forests in the 
mountains Guerrero State. Albertano Penalosa Dominguez is reportedly 
unwilling to go to the nearest town to receive medical treatment for 
injuries he suffered during the ambush for fear of being detained.

Amnesty International continues to fear for the safety of Celsa 
Valdovinos, Felipe Arreaga's wife and  leader of Organizacion de 
Mujeres Ecologistas, Women's Environmentalist Organization.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as 
-	expressing concern for the safety of environmental activist Albertano 
Penalosa Dominguez and his family following the attack against him that 
led to the deaths of Armando and Adatuel Penalosa;
-	urging the authorities to ensure the protection of Albertano Penalosa 
Dominguez and his family and other environmental defenders in the 
region, such as Celsa Valdovinos;
-	calling for an impartial, prompt and full investigation into the 
ambush that resulted in the deaths of Armando and Adatuel Penalosa and 
for those responsible to be brought to justice;
-	calling for arrest warrants issued against founder members of the 
OCESP in relation to the murder Abel Bautista in 1998 to be suspended 
pending a review of the original murder enquiry, and for them and their 
families to be protected;
-	reminding the authorities that the UN Declaration on the Rights and 
Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Institutions to Promote and 
Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Liberties 
recognizes the legitimacy of the activities of human rights defenders 
and their right to carry out their activities without any restrictions 
or fear of reprisals.

Attorney General of Guerrero:
Lic. Eduardo Murueta Urrutia
Procurador General de Justicia del Estado de Guerrero
Carretera Nacional Mexico-Acapulco Km. 6+300
Tramo Chilpancingo- Petaquillos
Chilpancingo 39090
Guerrero, Mexico
Salutation: Dear Attorney General/Senor Procurador

Ambassador Carlos Alberto De Icaza Gonzalez
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington DC 20006

10th Anniversary Plea: Arrest All Suspects!

On the tenth anniversary of the Srebrenica Massacre we offer this 
sample letter thanking the Bosnian government for its efforts steps 
taken to pursue justice in this matter and urge the release of all 
relevant information and the arrest of all suspects indicted by the 
International Criminal Tribunal.

The Honorable Pero Bukejlovic
  Predsjednik Vlade Republike Srpske
  Vuka Karadzica 4
  51000 Banja Luka
  Republika Srpska

  Dear Prime Minister:

As you know, this July marks the tenth anniversary of the massacre that 
occurred at Srebrenica, where at least 8,000 Muslim men and boys were 
killed by Bosnian Serb forces in the span of several days. A decade 
later, the families who lost husbands, sons and brothers at Srebrenica 
are still awaiting justice for their loved ones. Information on the 
fate of the men who "disappeared" has not been made public, and 
although suspects such as Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic 
have been indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal, they still 
remain at large.

I welcome the steps you have taken toward giving these families 
closure, including issuing an official apology in November 2004 for the 
massacre at Srebrenica, publishing reports in June and October 2004 
about the participation of Republika Srpska police and armed forces in 
the events at Srebrenica and forwarding a list of 892 suspects to the 
State Prosecutor in March of 2005.

I urge you to continue in such a positive direction by releasing all 
available information to the family members of those who "disappeared" 
in July 1995 after the fall of the Srebrenica "safe area" so that they 
can know the fate and whereabouts of their loved ones, in accordance 
with the decision of the Human Rights Chamber of Bosnia and 

Moreover, I urge you to work closely with the State Prosecutor to 
ensure that all those found guilty are brought to justice and that all 
new information on what took place at Srebrenica is made public. 
Finally, I respectfully urge you to arrest all suspects indicted by the 
International Criminal Tribunal and to transfer them to the custody of 
the Tribunal. Thank you.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

copy to:
  Ambassador Igor Davidovic
  Embassy of Bosnia-Herzegovina
  2109 E Street N.W.
  Washington, D.C. 20037

Maintain Ban on Military Training

Here is a sample letter concerning the impending Senate consideration 
of the ban on military training and aid to Guatemala:

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

Dear Senator Boxer,

I am writing to express my deep concern for the human rights situation 
in Guatemala and to urge you to maintain the ban on regular IMET and 
FMF funding to Guatemala.

In 1990, the US Congress instituted a ban on military training (IMET) 
and military aid (FMF) to Guatemala following the murder of US 
innkeeper Michael Devine allegedly by members of the Guatemalan 
military. The Department of State has stated its intention to ask 
Congress to lift the ban citing reforms of the Guatemalan army and 
government efforts to improve human rights.

Amnesty International believes such reforms to the army fall short of 
meeting commitments the Government of Guatemala made in the 1996 Peace 
Accords. While the Government has reformed the military doctrine, 
neither the Constitution nor the governing laws of the army have been 
reformed to prohibit military involvement in internal security.   In 
addition, the army continues to have a role in internal public security 
with a program of joint police patrols in population centers being 
carried out during 2004.

Actual government efforts to improve human rights have also fallen 
short of President Oscar Berger's public commitments. Amnesty 
International remains concerned at the apparent lack of political will 
of the present government to take concrete and effective action to 
eliminate impunity and to ensure the rule of law prevails in Guatemala.

Attacks against human rights defenders have continued with no real 
response to date from the government. Amnesty International has 
received information that during 2004 there were 122 attacks against 
human rights defenders. In the first eight weeks of 2005 there were 26 
such attacks. Some international organizations operating in Guatemala 
have also been subject to harassment during the first year of President 
Berger's administration. Many of these attacks are believed to be 
linked to clandestine and illegal armed groups which still operate with 
impunity in Guatemala.

As the Congress considers a renewal of IMET and FMF funding for 
Guatemala, I hope you will consider the lack of improvement for respect 
of human rights and the lack of military reforms.  I urge you to 
maintain the ban on regular IMET and FMF, until the Government of 
Guatemala demonstrates clear progress on fully implementing military 
reforms, and investigating and prosecuting clandestine groups, 
including former and current military members.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

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