Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIII Number 5, May 2005

Thursday, May 26, 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 Sudan, the War on Terror, death penalty, 
environmental justice and more.

Tuesday, June 14, 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, June 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This 
month we discuss Nigerian novelist Chris Abani's, Graceland. (More info 

Amnesty International Film Festival The Amnesty International Film 
Festival is coming to West Hollywood, May 24-29.  Visit for details, or call the Western 
Regional office at 310-815-0450 to request a brochure or volunteer to 
help staff the event!


Hi everyone. Robert Adams and I got married April 16th in Pasadena, so 
Martha took over the column last month!  We went to Carmel for four 
days after the wedding. The weather cooperated and was sunny yet cool. 
We enjoyed the peace and quiet. We explored Point Lobos (walked a short 
trail to a quiet cove where we saw two sea otters floating in kelp bed, 
saw mom and baby harbor seals in the water trying to wash up on a 
rock.), went to the Monterey Aquarium and wharf (more frolicking 
otters), the 17 mile drive in Carmel (harbor seals resting on rocks 
near shore-looking like large white furry cigars from a distance, very 
aggressive squirrels, cormorants, and the ubiquitous seagulls). We want 
to thank everyone who donated to Amnesty in honor of our wedding and 
also for the "petition", photo collage and candle!

I did manage to finish the April alternate book selection, "Five 
minutes past midnight in Bhopal" by Dominique LaPierre and Javier Moro. 
  It is a gripping story of the 1984 disaster at the Bhopal chemical 
plant in India. Several characters living in the "bustees" (shacks near 
the plant) are followed throughout the story-at the end we learn if 
they survived the gas leak or not. I was glad to see that some of my 
favorite characters did survive. The author makes you empathize with 
the struggles of the poor people living near the plant and it is a 
compelling story.

To this day, there still has not been justice for the injured people of 
Bhopal.  One of our group members, Paula Tavrow, has written a letter 
to the Pasadena Weekly re this topic that we all signed.  Look for it 
in a future edition, as the weekly claims to "print all letters 
received"!!  We are also planning to send the hands traced by children 
on a large paper petition at the environmental fair at the Arboretum to 
Dow Chemical, the current owner of the Bhopal plant site.

Dominique LaPierre has set up a fund for India called "City of Joy Aid, 
Inc." The money goes to several projects in India.  One of these 
projects is the Bhopal Gynecological Clinic, which treats women injured 
by the gas leak, which has caused various gynecological problems, 
especially cervical cancer.  This clinic helps underprivileged women 
obtain medical care.  Many have not been adequately treated by 
government hospitals.  If you want to donate to the fund, send a check 
to City of Joy Fund, Inc. in care of Marie B. Allizon, 7419 Lisle Ave, 
Falls Church, VA 22043.  Phone 703-734-6956.

Amnesty Film Festival in West Hollywood starts Tuesday May 24 through 
Sunday May 29.  For a schedule and to buy tickets online, go to I missed this event 
last year, but am planning to go on the weekend this year. The list of 
movies looks very interesting, including films on Ciudad Juarez 
murders, Bhopal disaster, war on terror, child soldiers, etc.
We have adopted a new Prisoner of Conscience from Vietnam, Brother 
Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan) a 51 year old Catholic priest sentenced to 20 
years (along with other priests) for "conducting propaganda to oppose 
the socialist regime and undermine the policy of solidarity" (he was 
involved in peaceful activities relating to his membership in his 
order, such as establishment of orphanages, asylums, and hospitals and 
training of lay people.  By next month we hope to have our first action 
for this case!


Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Sunday, June 19, 6:30 PM

by Chris Abani

In this dazzling debut by a singular new talent, the sprawling, swampy, 
cacophonous city of Lagos, Nigeria, provides the backdrop to the story 
of Elvis, a teenage Elvis impersonator hoping to make his way out of 
the ghetto. Broke, beset by floods, and beatings by his alcoholic 
father, and with no job opportunities in sight, Elvis is tempted by a 
life of crime. Thus begins his odyssey into the dangerous underworld of 
Lagos, guided by his friend Redemption and accompanied by a restless 
hybrid of voices including The King of Beggars, Sunday, Innocent and 
Comfort. Ultimately, young Elvis, drenched in reggae and jazz, and 
besotted with American film heroes and images, must find his way to a 
GraceLand of his own. Nuanced, lyrical, and pitch perfect, Abani has 
created a remarkable story of a son and his father, and an examination 
of postcolonial Nigeria where the trappings of American culture reign 

Support Darfur Accountability Act

We continue to express our concern for the situation in Sudan.  Here is 
a sample letter to Senator Feinstein in support of the Darfur 
Accountability Act.

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

Dear Senator Feinstein,

As your constituent, I am writing to thank you for your continued 
efforts to respond to the crisis in Darfur Sudan. I am also writing to 
urge you to support the Darfur Accountability Act 2000, S.495.  This 
bill will help ensure that the perpetrators of gross human rights 
violations against the Sudanese people will are brought to justice, 
support efforts to improve protection for the targets of this violence 
and help shut down the flow of weapons that allows the government to 
commit these abuses. By supporting this bill, you would be sending a 
message that the world will no longer close its eyes to gross 
violations but will do all possible to bring the perpetrators to 

Many innocent civilians have suffered as a result of the crisis in 
Darfur with women bearing a huge burden of the cost. Human rights 
groups estimate that  thousands of women have been raped by combatants 
from government forces and armed groups linked to the government known 
as the Janjawid. Rape victims face stigmatization and torment from 
family members. Some of them, have been abducted from their homes and 
held as sexual slaves. Survivors make up majority of population in the 
camps for Internally Displaced Persons where they continue to face 
violence due to inadequate resources and security in an around the 
camps  in the region in as a whole.

This bill will support enhancing the African Union's ability to protect 
civilians, extend the current arms embargo to include the government of 
Sudan, and it demands accountability for the crimes committed in Sudan. 
I urge you to support the legislation.

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

Stop Violence Against Women Campaign	8
Urgent Actions				25
Death Penalty				8
Vietnam 				7
Abdullah Webster			8
Campaign for Bhopal			14
Total:					70
Want to add your letters to the total?  Get in touch with

A Biographical Sketch of Nguyen Thien Phung

Here's what we know so far about our new prisoner adoption case.  We 
hope to have an action by next month!

Brother Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan), 51-years-old, was born on 10 
February 1951 in Bui Chu, northern Viet Nam.  He is a Catholic monk and 
member of the Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix (CMC).  He was 
arrested on 20 May 1987 during raids on Thu Duc monastery, near Ho Chi 
Minh City, by public security officers.  Another 22 priests and 
brothers of the CMC, including the founder Father Dominic Tran Dinh 
Thu, were arrested around the same time.  In October 1987 Brother 
Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan) was sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment for 
"conducting propaganda to oppose the socialist regime and undermine the 
policy of solidarity", under Articles 81 and 82 and an additional five 
years' deprivation of civil rights on completion of his sentence under 
Article 100 of the 1986 Vietnamese Criminal Code.   The 1986 Criminal 
Code was amended and replaced in December 1999.  His sentence was 
upheld by the Appeal Court on 7 November 1988.  His co-defendants were 
sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging between four years and life; 
all have been released except for Brother Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan).  
Amnesty believes that Brother Nguyen Thien Phung (Huan) is detained 
solely for his peaceful activities as a Roman Catholic monk and member 
of the CMC.

The CMC is an evangelical order which in Viet Nam attempted to promote 
their beliefs through social programs, such as establishment of 
orphanages, asylums, hospitals and student residences, and through 
training of lay people.

Urge Turkey to Amend Penal Code

The new Turkish Penal Code (TPC) has been presented as a reforming 
measure designed to improve human rights protection in Turkey, as it 
attempts to bring its laws into line with the requirements for 
membership of the European Union. While the new TPC does propose many 
positive changes - for example, it increases the punishment for those 
convicted of torture - it contains numerous restrictions on fundamental 
rights. Provisions covering freedom of expression, which have been used 
in the past to prosecute people or imprison them as prisoners of 
conscience, remain. Article 159 of the old TPC, which criminalized acts 
that "insult or belittle" various state institutions, is one that 
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the authorities to 
abolish. It reappears as Article 301 of the new TPC in the section 
entitled "Crimes against symbols of the state's sovereignty and the 
honor of its organs" (Articles 299 - 301). Amnesty International is 
concerned that this section could be used to criminalize legitimate 
expression of dissent and opinion.

New articles have been introduced which appear to introduce 
restrictions to fundamental rights. Article 305 of the new TPC 
criminalizes "acts against the fundamental national interest". The 
explanation attached to the draft, when the law was first presented to 
Parliament, provided as examples of such crimes, "making propaganda for 
the withdrawal of Turkish soldiers from Cyprus or for the acceptance of 
a settlement in this issue detrimental to Turkey... or, contrary to 
historical truths, that the Armenians suffered a genocide after the 
First World War." Amnesty International considers that the imposition 
of a criminal penalty for any such statements - unless intended or 
likely to incite violence - would be a clear breach of international 
standards safeguarding freedom of expression.

The law was supposed to enter into force on 1 April 2005. However, in 
the face of forceful objections by Turkish journalists that the TPC 
could be used to greatly restrict their activities and even imprison 
them, the government agreed to delay this until 1 June 2005 in order to 
make amendments. On 3 May, the ruling Justice and Development [AK] 
party submitted its proposed changes to the draft TPC. While some small 
changes have been made - mainly the removal of provisions that allowed 
for increased sentences when breaches of the code took place in the 
media - most of the restrictive articles remain and have not been 
changed. In at least one instance, the ruling party is apparently 
trying to introduce even greater restrictions: for example, the 
proposal suggests that Article 305 should be altered to explicitly 
allow for the prosecution of "foreigners" as well as Turkish citizens.

Article 122 of the draft, which forbids discrimination on the basis of 
"language, race, color, gender, political thought, philosophical 
belief, religion, denomination and other reasons" originally listed 
"sexual orientation", but this was removed from the draft at the last 
moment. Amnesty International is therefore concerned that 
discrimination on the basis of sexuality is not criminalized in the new 
law.  In addition, Amnesty International is concerned that the statute of 
limitations (the time limit) still applies in trials of people accused 
of torture. While the new law has extended this time limit from 
seven-and-a-half years to 10 years, it is common for trials of alleged 
torturers to be deliberately protracted and ultimately abandoned 
because of this provision, thereby contributing to a climate of 
impunity. Given the frequency with which this happens, Amnesty 
International considers that there should be no statute of limitations 
for the crime of torture.

Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
-	Expressing concerns about the draft new Turkish Penal Code (TPC), 
much of which may be used to unnecessarily restrict fundamental human 
rights and which may lead to people being imprisoned for the peaceful 
exercise of their right to freedom of expression
-	Welcoming the amendments tabled by the ruling AK party but stating 
that these seem to be insufficient to guarantee the right to freedom of 
expression in Turkey
-	Urging the authorities to listen to the concerns of press and human 
rights groups, and take further steps to amend or abolish problematic 
articles of the TPC, such as Articles 305 and 301
-	Expressing concern that the statute of limitations remains for crimes 
of torture and ill-treatment
-	Asking the authorities to take steps to ensure that discrimination on 
the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited

Prime Minister:
  Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan
  Office of the Prime Minister
  06573 Ankara

  Leader of the Republican People's Party:
  Mr Deniz Baykal
  Leader of the Republican People's Party
  Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi
  Cevre sokak No:38
  Cankaya, Ankara

  Ambassador Dr. Osman Faruk Logoglu
  Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
  2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW
  Washington DC 20008

Conditions for Torture Persist in US Policy

An Amnesty International report entitled "USA: Human dignity denied: 
Torture and accountability in the 'war on terror'" (see for a copy) catalogues the United States' three-year 
descent into the use of torture and warns that without a comprehensive, 
independent investigation into the United States' torture and 
ill-treatment of detainees, the conditions remain for further abuses to 
occur.  Based on an analysis of relevant policy decisions and specific 
incidents of abuse, the report cites more than 65 specific 
recommendations that, if implemented by the US government, would 
provide substantial safeguards against further torture and abuse. Among 
these is a call on President Bush to make public and revoke any 
measures or directives that have been authorized by him or any other 
official that could be interpreted as authorizing "disappearances," 
torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or extrajudicial 

The report was released to mark the six month anniversary of CBS News' 
first broadcast of the photographs of torture at Abu Ghraib. Research 
by Amnesty International suggests that these are not isolated 
incidents, but rather evidence of a systemic failure to protect the 
rights of detainees in accordance with international law. Amnesty 
International has received frequent reports of torture or other 
ill-treatment from released detainees who were held in US-run 
facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and elsewhere. Detainees 
have told Amnesty International that they were tortured and ill-treated 
by US and UK troops during interrogation. Methods often reported 
include prolonged sleep deprivation; beatings; prolonged restraint in 
painful positions, sometimes combined with exposure to loud music; 
prolonged hooding; and exposure to bright lights. Virtually none of the 
allegations of torture or ill-treatment has been adequately 
investigated by the authorities.

Amnesty International calls for a thorough and impartial investigation 
into torture and other abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and 
elsewhere, and for assurances that those who perpetrated crimes and 
those who contributed to a command climate that facilitated crimes are 
brought to justice. Amnesty International seeks the establishment of an 
independent commission of inquiry consisting of experts who would 
examine -- up the chain of command -- US interrogation practices in Iraq, 
Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere. Hearings and findings should be 
made public. Amnesty International also calls for the appointment of a 
Special Counsel to investigate the reports of abuse at the Abu Ghraib 
prison and other detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo 
and elsewhere; to establish whether acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and 
degrading treatment and other violations of relevant federal statutes 
have been committed; and to seek prosecution of those who perpetrated 
crimes and those up the chain of command responsible for creating a 
climate that facilitated such crimes. Within the US justice system, the 
Special Counsel is the most independent mechanism for conducting an 
investigation and prosecution.

Sample Letter follows:

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 by the US record of torture and ill-treatment 
that continues to emerge from Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and 
beyond. Amnesty International has interviewed former detainees released 
from US run facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere 
who reported being subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or 
degrading treatment during interrogation and detention. Extensive 
research by Amnesty International suggests that these are not isolated 
incidents.  Although Amnesty International has presented this 
information on several occasions to US government officials, the 
organization has not received a full response to these allegations. 
Moreover, there are numerous indications that high ranking government 
officials have worked to block restrictions on extreme interrogation 
techniques that amount to torture.

During the past year, the US government has engaged in a series of high 
profile investigations into the subject of detainee treatment.  
However, none have met the standards of investigation necessary to gain 
a full accounting of command responsibility for the ever-growing 
numbers of allegations of torture and ill treatment of detainees in US 
custody.  Investigations to date have been internal, largely 
classified, and lacked the mandate or ability to investigate the 
highest levels of civilian and military leadership and to assign 
responsibility or demand accountability. Lack of accountability is 
underscored by recent reports that an Army Inspector's General report 
will clear Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez who was the senior U.S. commander 
in Iraq while torture and ill treatment occurred at Abu Ghraib, as well 
as Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski who was Sanchez's former top deputy, 
Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast who was Sanchez's intelligence chief in Baghdad, 
and Col. Mark Warren who was Sanchez's top legal adviser at the time.  
The exoneration of top level officials and limited prosecution of low 
ranking soldiers makes clear the need for a truly independent 

High-level US officials have frequently stated that the "war on terror" 
is a new war that requires new thinking. In fact, these officials seek 
to justify old methods that have long been de-legitimized.  Suspending 
habeas corpus, "disappearing" detainees, incommunicado detention and 
the legalization of torture have been used in the name of national 
security and do not represent "new thinking."  These policies merely 
recycle old, ineffective practices that violate human rights and 
undermine the rule of law.

Mr. President, I urge you to call for the establishment of an 
independent commission of inquiry and the appointment of a Special 
Counsel to conduct public investigations into the reports of abuse in 
US detention centers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and elsewhere; to 
establish whether acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading 
treatment and other violations of relevant federal statutes have been 
committed; and to recommend safeguards to prevent further torture and 
ill-treatment.  In addition, the Special Counsel should prosecute those 
who perpetrated crimes and those up the chain of command responsible 
for creating a climate that has facilitated such crimes.

Two years ago, you stated that, "torture anywhere is an affront to 
human dignity everywhere" and "the United States is committed to the 
world-wide elimination of torture and [is] leading this fight by 
example."  Torture and ill-treatment of detainees at the hands of US 
personnel runs contrary to your words and the tenets of US and 
international law.  The time for internal investigations and verbal 
denials has passed.  It is essential that the world community view the 
investigations into such crimes as thorough and impartial, and that 
both those who commit such acts of torture and those in command who 
condone them are held accountable. For that reason, I urge you to 
support an independent commission of inquiry and the appointment of a 
Special Counsel.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and I look forward to your 

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

Urge Disciplinary Action for Death in Custody

Amnesty International is saddened and outraged that Rev. Joseph Dantica 
has died in detention in Florida. The 81-year old minister arrived 
legally in Miami in October 2004. He had fled Haiti after death threats 
from Haitian gang members. In Miami, Rev. Dantica asked for asylum and 
was put into detention. His medicines were confiscated, he became 
seriously ill, and his family was forbidden to see him "for security 
reasons." He died completely alone, handcuffed to a hospital bed.

Please write to the Secretary of DHS urging that the Dantica 
investigation be thorough and substantive. Ask that the IG's report 
recommend specific disciplinary action, and specific changes in policy, 
to prevent other asylum-seekers from being humiliated and mistreated 
like Rev. Dantica. You might also point out that such mistreatment does 
not improve U.S. national security.


You can base your letters on the sample text below.

Michael Chertoff
  Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security
  3801 Nebraska Ave., NW
  Washington, DC 20016

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

I am writing to express my concern regarding the death in detention of 
Rev. Joseph Dantica, an 81-year-old Haitian asylum seeker. Rev. Dantica 
died five days after being apprehended by the Department of Homeland 
Security and being jailed at the Krome detention center in Florida.

Rev. Dantica, who arrived with a valid passport and visa, told DHS 
officials upon arrival that he was seeking asylum from persecution in 
Haiti. He was taken to Krome. Upon arrival at that facility his 
medications were taken away from him. His condition deteriorated, until 
he was finally taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he died five 
days after his arrival at Miami International airport. According to the 
Miami Herald, even after Rev. Dantica was vomiting and passed out, the 
Krome detention center medic said that Dantica was "faking" his illness 
and not being cooperative. After his transfer to ward "D" (for 
detention) of Jackson Memorial Hospital on November 2, family members 
were not permitted to visit him "for security reasons." The 81-year-old 
minister died alone, handcuffed to his hospital bed.
We call on you to make sure the IG's report on the circumstances of 
Rev. Dantica's detention and death is exhaustive Did the U.S. Public 
Health Service examine him upon arrival at Krome? What allowance was 
made for his advanced age and frail condition? Why were his medications 
taken away, and why weren't they replaced with equivalent medications? 
Did any DHS or USPHS officials seek to ascertain information from him 
regarding his health condition in his language, Creole, or to explain 
to him in his language the authorities' plan for his care? Why wasn't 
he paroled from detention on humanitarian grounds quickly, given his 
condition? Couldn't he have been given a credible fear interview at the 
airport, instead of being taken to detention? Why wasn't his family 
permitted to visit him in the hospital, at the very least?

Finally, we would appreciate it if you would assess whether health 
complaints at Krome from Haitian detainees and/or other nationalities 
who speak neither English nor Spanish are acted on more slowly or taken 
less seriously than for other nationalities. Are Haitians with health 
complaints more likely to be regarded as "faking it" and to receive 
less attention than other nationalities?

Sincerely, YOUR NAME and ADDRESS

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

Amnesty International Group 22
P.O. Box 50193
Pasadena, CA 91115-0193

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.