Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIII Number 3, March 2005


Thursday, March 24, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting Caltech Y has moved. Just 
around the corner from our old meeting place, we moved 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 beyond. Help us plan 
future actions on Tibet, the War on Terror, death penalty, 
environmental justice and more.

Saturday, March 26, 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM. 4th Annual Amnesty 
Mini-Conference. Cal State University-Fullerton. Continental breakfast 
and admission FREE! Workshops include:
Women's Campaign
Death Penalty
War on Terror
AIDS and Human Rights
Corporate Action Network
Introduction to Amnesty
Sudan Crisis
Racial Profiling
Human Trafficking
Directions: Cal State Fullerton is located west of the Orange (57) 
Freeway in Fullerton. The university is bordered by Nutwood Avenue to 
the south, State College Boulevard to the west, Yorba Linda Boulevard 
to the north, and the 57 Freeway to the east. Coming from either the 
south or the north on the 57 Freeway, exit at Nutwood Avenue. Go west 
on Nutwood. Turn right at the main campus entrance at Commonwealth 
Avenue. Follow E. Campus Drive to Parking Lot F. The registration desk 
will be outside University Hall Room 252, south end of the building on 
the 2nd floor.

Tuesday, April 12, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum. 
Corner of California & Hill. This month commemorate Women's Day by 
taking action! This informal gathering is a great for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, April 17, 6:30 PM. Rights
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 
695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. This month we discuss
Amulya Malladi's novel about the aftermath of Bhopal A Breath of Fresh 
Air. (More info below.)

Hello everyone. There are a lot of interesting activities this month 
and next. Hope you can participate! Amnesty members were saddened to 
hear of the death of the founder, Peter Berenson, at age 83, on 
February 27 of this year in London. Berenson started Amnesty 
International after reading of students in a cafe in Lisbon, Portugal 
being arrested for drinking a toast to the liberation from their 
country's then dictator. Since then, Amnesty has grown to 1.8 million 
members in over 64 countries. For more info on his interesting life, 
visit However, 
there is good news.
- The US Supreme Court recently outlawed the execution of minors or 
persons who committed crimes when they were minors.
- Staff Sergeant Camillo Mejia Castillo was released in February 2005, 
3 months before the end of his sentence due to good conduct. His first 
level appeal against his conviction (he was imprisoned May 2004 for 
desertion, when he refused to return to his unit in Iraq) is due to be 
heard soon. Camillo thanked AI members for the thousands of letters of 
support he received while in prison. Group 22 members wrote on his 
behalf also.
- Prisoner of conscience Rebiya Kadeer has been released by Chinese 
authorities on medical parole and is now reportedly flying to the US, 
where she will be reunited with family members. She was one of the 
special focus cases we used for the Doo- Dah parade. She is a Uighur 
businesswoman who was detained while on her way to discuss human rights 
with visiting US Congress staff members and was sentenced in 2000 to 
eight years in prison for "leaking state secrets" for having sent 
newspaper clippings to her husband in the US. Her release comes shortly 
before Condoleezza Rice's scheduled visit to Beijing and follows years 
of intensive campaigning for her freedom by AI. More than 100 AI 
chapters in states throughout the Western Region adopted her case and 
60,000 actions were sent from Amnesty's online action center on her behalf.

Saturday March 12, the annual Environmental Educational Fair at the LA 
County Botanical Garden AKA the Arboretum, was held. Group 22 had a 
table with actions on the Bhopal chemical disaster in India 20 years 
ago and other environmental actions. Children (and others) traced their 
hands on a petition re the Bhopal disaster. Thanks to group members 
Joyce and Martha who set up in the morning and stayed all day and 
Paula, Lucas, and Donna who volunteered at the table. Pictures of the 
fair (including some preening peacocks) will be available on group 22's 
website soon. This week, there is a film festival sponsored by the AI 
Claremont Colleges group. It starts March 24 and ends March 29. For 
more info, go to The films are on 
human rights and environmental themes and are free. Afghan Massacre and 
Senorita Extravidia are among the selections. The latter is about the 
murders in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico among young women maquiladora workers.

This coming weekend, there is the AI miniconference in Fullerton. It is 
also free and no registration is needed. Just show up! See Up-Coming 
Events for details.

Hope to see you at one or more of these events in addition to our 
regularly scheduled meetings!

Take care!

Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Sunday, April 17, 6:30 PM

A Breath of Fresh Air
by Amulya Malladi

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can always have serious 
repercuss-ions, but for Anjuli, none are quite so lethal as being 
abandoned in Bhopal, India, the night a toxic gas explosion rocks the 
city. Forgotten at the train station by her philandering, army officer 
husband, Anjuli survives the accident, although her marriage to Prakash 
does not. Years later, happily remarried, Anjuli still contends with 
the devastating effects of that fateful night, as she and her new 
husband helplessly watch their dying son struggle with the birth 
defects that resulted from Anjuli's exposure to the deadly poison. When 
Prakash unexpectedly reenters her life, Anjuli must confront her 
unresolved feelings surrounding her prior marriage and scandalous 
divorce. Unwillingly, Prakash is forced to acknowledge not only his 
role in their marriage's failure, but also his culpability in the death 
sentence his thoughtless act rendered upon an innocent child. In this 
accomplished debut novel, Malladi depicts believable and well-defined 
characters facing tumultuous circumstances with grace and sensitivity, 
passion and pride.-- Booklist

Take Action for Survivors of Bhopal

More than 7,000 people died within a matter of days when toxic gases 
leaked from a chemical plant in Bhopal, India on the night of 2/3 
December 1984. Over the last 20 years exposure to the toxins has 
resulted in the deaths of a further 15,000 people as well as chronic 
and debilitating illnesses for thousands of others for which treatment 
is largely ineffective. Call on Dow Chemical to clean up the factory 
site and remove the stockpiles of chemical abandoned by the company.

The disaster shocked the world and raised fundamental questions about 
government and corporate responsibility for industrial accidents that 
devastate human life and local environments. Yet 20 years later, the 
survivors still await just compensation, adequate medical assistance 
and treatment, and comprehensive economic and social rehabilitation. 
The plant site, has still not been cleaned up. As a result, toxic 
wastes continue to pollute the environment and contaminate water that 
surrounding communities rely on.

Despite determined efforts by survivors to secure justice, they have 
been denied adequate compensation and appropriate and timely medical 
assistance and rehabilitation. Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), then 
owner of the pesticide factory in Bhopal, and Dow Chemical, which 
merged with UCC in 2001, have publicly denied all responsibility for 
the leak and the resulting damage. Astonishingly, no one has been held 

The Bhopal case illustrates how companies evade their human rights 
responsibilities and underlines the need to establish a universal human 
rights framework that can be applied to companies directly. Governments 
have the primary responsibility for protecting the human rights of 
communities endangered by the activities of corporations, such as those 
employing hazardous technology. However, as the influence and reach of 
companies have grown, there has been a developing consensus that they 
must be brought within the framework of international human rights 
standards.  Sample letter follows:

Andrew N. Liveris
Dow Chemical Co
2030 Dow Center
Midland, MI 48674

I am very concerned about the devastating consequences to the health of 
the communities of Bhopal, India, posed by Union Carbide's disused 
pesticide factory.

For more than 30 years the Bhopal plant has been a source of 
environmental pollution. After the disaster in 1984, which killed 
thousands of people, Union Carbide abandoned the factory without 
decontaminating the site and left behind large amounts of toxic waste. 
Stockpiles of contaminants continue to pollute the water and soil, on 
which entire communities rely, affecting the health of those living in 
the area.

According to numerous reports, contaminants have been found in 
vegetables grown near the plant and in breast milk samples taken from 
women in Bhopal. Water has been found to be unfit for consumption but, 
in the absence of any other source, most local people continue to drink 
it. The company has never done anything meaningful to clean up the 

I therefore urge you:
-- to ensure that the Bhopal factory site and its surroundings are 
promptly and effectively decontaminated, that the groundwater is 
cleaned up, and
-- that the stockpiles of toxic and hazardous substances left by the 
company when they abandoned the site are removed;
-- to co-operate fully with those assessing the nature and extent of 
the damage to health and the environment caused by improper waste 
disposal and contaminants at the abandoned factory site;
-- to ensure that Dow Chemicals promptly provide full reparations, 
restitution, compensation and rehabilitation for the continuing damage 
done to people's health and the environment by the ongoing 
contamination of the site.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

Misc Women's Day Actions	16
Sexual Violence - Central African Republic	7
Fear of Safety in Guatemala	8
Sexual Orientation/HIV issues in Colombia	15
USA (Restrictions on Health Services)	8
Total:	55
Want to add your letters to the total?  Get in touch with

Mexican Environmentalists Targeted

Prisoner of conscience and renowned environmental activist, Felipe 
Arreaga, was arrested on 3 November 2004 by judicial  police in town of 
Petetlan in Guerrero State. He faces an unfair  trial for a murder 
committed in 1998. Amnesty International fears that Felipe Arreaga's 
arrest and the issuing of arrest warrants against 14 former members of 
the OCESP is a reprisal against the organization for previous 
environmental activism. It may also be designed to deter the work of 
his wife, Celsa Valdovinos, who leads the Organizacion de Mujeres 
Ecologistas, Women's Environmentalist Organization and that of other 
environmentalists in the Guerrero state.

Amnesty International believes that the investigation and criminal 
charges brought against Felipe Arreaga are politically motivated, due 
to his leading role in peaceful protests against excessive and illegal 
logging of forests of Guerrero State. At the end of February 2005, a 
key prosecution witness in the case testified in court that he had been 
coerced into implicating Felipe Arreaga and others in the original 
investigation into the murder of Abel Bautista Guillen, the son of a 
local cacique (local political boss).

There are many other irregularities in the proceedings which 
demonstrate that the case against Felipe Arreaga has been fabricated. 
For example the murder took place in 1998 but the only investigative 
steps including statements, forensics and crime scene examination, were 
not carried out until 2000. The case was then archived until an arrest 
warrant issued in 2004. In addition one of the accused allegedly 
identified by the two witnesses had died in 1996 and another was a 
child at the time of the crime. Felipe Arreaga provided three witnesses 
at the time of his arraignment, proving that he was incapacitated at 
the time of the murder, as he was receiving medical treatment for back 
problems in another community. In addition a key prosecution witness 
has failed to appear in court and his whereabouts are reportedly 
unknown. The prosecution case is primarily based on presenting Felipe 
Arreaga as a known criminal, which character witnesses have refuted. 
Despite this evidence, he remains in custody during a trial which may 
last more than a year and which could result in conviction for a crime 
he did not commit. He also suffers from serious back problems which 
have been aggravated by the conditions of his detention.

Felipe Arreaga was an active member of the OCESP from its foundation in 
1997. The organization was set up to mobilise communities in the 
mountains of Petetlan municipality to campaign peacefully against 
deforestation due to illegal logging operations run by local caciques 
reportedly linked to senior officials in the state government. Caciques 
and members of the state government made repeated unfounded allegations 
against the OCESP, accusing them of links to criminal and armed groups. 
In 1999, two OCESP members, Rodolfo Montiel and Teodoro Cabrera, were 
detained by the military and tortured to force them to confess to 
firearms and drugs offences. The two were convicted on the basis of 
fabricated evidence and were adopted as prisoners of conscience by 
Amnesty International. In 2001 President Fox ordered their release in 
the face of massive national and international pressure, but their 
innocence was never recognised, nor were those responsible for their 
torture or detention brought to justice. Their case is before the Inter 
American Commission on Human Rights. Rodoflo Montiel is one of the 14 
OCESP leaders against whom arrest warrants have been issued in 
connection with 1998 murder.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION.  Fabricated criminal charges and unfair 
criminal procedures are frequently used in Mexico in order to deter 
human rights defenders, social activists and others opposing the abuses 
of power at a local level. Judicial police working in collaboration 
with caciques can result in unfounded charges and detention. Mexico's 
judicial system suffers from endemic flaws which routinely deny the 
right to fair trial and the presumption of innocence and make it 
extremely difficult for those accused of fabricated charges to clear 
their name. Those responsible for the misuse of judicial system are 
virtually never held to account, encouraging further abuses and 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as 
- calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Felipe Arreaga 
and for his safety and that of his family to be guaranteed;
- calling for arrest warrants against 14 other members of the OCESP to 
be suspended, and for them, their families and witnesses to be 
- calling for an independent and impartial review of the investigation 
conducted by judicial police and prosecutors in order to bring to 
justice those responsible for fabricating evidence and mounting an 
unfounded prosecution of Felipe Arreaga;
- urging that the results are made public and that Felipe Arreaga is 
fully compensated for malicious prosecution and unwarranted detention;
- calling for a thorough and impartial investigation into the murder of 
Abel Bautista Guillen in 1998;
- 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.

State Governor (elect):
Contador Publico Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo
Gobernador Electo del Estado de Guerrero.
Horacio Nelson numero 15 Fraccionamiento Costa Azul
C.P. 39850, Acapulco
Guerrero, Mexico
Salutation: Dear Governor Elect/Senor Gobernador electo

Attorney General of Guerrero:
Lic. Jesus Ramirez Guerrero
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

Minister of the Interior:
Lic. Santiago Creel	
Secretario de Gobernacion, Secretaria de Gobernacion
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juarez, Delegacion Cuauhtemoc
Mexico D.F., C.P.06600, Mexico
Salutation: Dear Minister/Senor Secretario

President of Guerrero State Supreme Court:
Lic. Raul Calvo Sanchez
Presidente del Tribunal Superior de Justicia del Estado de Guerrero
Plaza Civica, Primer Congreso de Anahuac, sin numero
Colonia Centro, Chilpancingo
Guerrero, C.P.39000, Mexico

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

PA D.A. seeks execution of 70 year old woman

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania have announced their intention to seek the 
death penalty against Kathy MacClellan for a crime she is alleged to 
have committed last month. Kathy MacClellan is 70 years old: 
international law prohibits the imposition of the death penalty on 
anyone who was over 70 at the time of the crime.

Kathy MacClellan has been charged with the murder of her 84-year-old 
neighbor, Marguerite Eyer, who was found on 7 February in her home in 
the town of Easton, in Northampton County, eastern Pennsylvania. She 
died shortly afterwards in hospital. She had been bludgeoned about the 
head. The prosecution has alleged that she was robbed. No date has yet 
been set for Kathy MacClellan's trial. On 12 March, the Northampton 
County District Attorney's Office filed notice of their intention to 
seek the death penalty against her. It is considered likely that 
questions surrounding her mental health will be an issue in the case. 
The American Convention on Human Rights prohibits the use of the death 
penalty against anyone who was over 70 years old at the time of the 
crime. The USA has not ratified the Convention, but signed it in 1977. 
By becoming a signatory, the USA obliged itself under international law 
not to do anything to undermine the treaty pending its decision on 
whether to ratify it.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION.  Amnesty International opposes the death 
penalty unconditionally. The death penalty is a symptom of a culture of 
violence, not a solution to it. This is an outdated punishment, 
abolished in law or practice in 118 countries. A small number of 
countries, including the USA, account for the vast majority of 
executions. In China, which accounts for the most executions each year, 
there is no upper age limit for application of the death penalty. For 
example, Wei Youde was sentenced to death in Hunan Province in 2002 for 
a murder committed when he was 87 years old. On appeal in 2004, Wei 
Youde's sentence was commuted.

Since the United States resumed executions in 1977, 944 men and 10 
women have been put to death in its execution chambers. The US capital 
justice system is marked by arbitrariness, discrimination and error, 
and US authorities have frequently violated international standards in 
their pursuit of judicial killing of prisoners including child 
offenders, the mentally impaired, the inadequately represented, people 
whose guilt remained in doubt, and foreign nationals denied their 
consular rights.

In 2002, in Atkins v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court outlawed the 
execution of offenders with mental retardation. Earlier this month, in 
Roper v. Simmons, the Court did the same thing in the case of offenders 
who were under 18 at the time of the crime. That ruling brought the USA 
finally into line with a global consensus prohibiting the death penalty 
for the crimes of children.

Article 4.5 of the American Convention on Human Rights states:  
''Capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at the time 
the crime was committed, were under 18 years of age or over 70 years of 
age@. The USA signed the American Convention on Human Rights on 1 June 
1977. By becoming a signatory, the USA bound itself not to undermine 
the treaty's provisions. Under Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on 
the Law of Treaties (1979), AA State is obliged to refrain from acts 
which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty when: (a) it has 
signed the treaty...until it shall have made its intention clear not to 
become a party to the treaty...

No one who was over 70 at the time of the crime has been executed in 
the USA since 1977. In 1991, Ray Copeland was sentenced to death in 
Missouri for a crime committed when he was 71 years old. He died two 
years later in prison. Amnesty International is not aware of any other 
person being sentenced to death in the USA since 1977 who was over 70 
years old at the time of the crime. In January 2002, a Texas county 
prosecutor announced his intention to seek the death penalty against 
Melvin Hale, charged with a murder committed two years earlier when he 
was 72 years old (see UA 08/02, AMR 51/001/2002, In the event, a 
plea arrangement was reached under which Melvin Hale was sentenced to 
life imprisonment in return for a guilty plea.

The oldest person currently on death row in the USA is believed to be 
Viva Leroy Nash who is 89 years old. He was sentenced to death in 
Arizona in 1983 for a crime committed in 1982 when he was aged 67. The 
oldest person put to death in the USA since executions resumed in 1977 
was James Hubbard, who was 74 years old when he was put to death in 
Alabama on 5 August 2004. He was under 60 at the time of the crime. Two 
women over 60 at the time of execution have been put to death in the 
USA since 1977 - Betty Lou Beets who was 62 when she was put to death 
in Texas in February 2000, and Lois Nadean Smith, 61 years old at the 
time of her execution in Oklahoma in December 2001.

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

- expressing sympathy for the family and friends of Marguerite Eyer, 
explaining that you are not seeking to excuse the manner of her death 
or to minimize the suffering caused;
- explaining that you are not seeking to make any comment about the 
guilt or innocence of Kathy MacClellan, but simply to express concern 
about Northampton County's intention to seek the death penalty against 
- pointing out that the pursuit of the death penalty against a 
defendant who was over 70 years old at the time of the crime violates 
international law;
- calling on the prosecution to drop its pursuit of the death penalty 
in this case.

Paula A. Roscioli
First Deputy District Attorney
Office of the District Attorney of Northampton County
Government Center
669 Washington Street
Easton, PA 18042
Fax: 1 610 559 3035

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