Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIII Number 11, November-December 2005


Saturday, December 10, 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. International Human Rights 
Day Global Write-a-thon. Café Culture, 1359 North Altadena Drive, 
Pasadena (Near Altadena Drive & Washington Boulevard).  Drop by 
anytime, have a cup of coffee, breakfast or lunch, sign a postcard, 
write a letter and share a little conversation!

Monday, December 12, 8:30 PM. Death Penalty Vigil.  All Saints Church, 
132 N. Euclid Ave. Pasadena.  Witness against the death penalty prior 
to the scheduled execution of Stanley Williams.  Service begins at 9:00 

Sunday, December 18, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book 
Discussion Group. Special Location!  Home of Lucas Kamp: 187 S. 
Catalina, No. 2, Pasadena.  This month we read Marjane Satrapi 
illustrated memoir of growing up in Iran, Persepolis. (More below.)

Tuesday, January 10, 7:30 PM. Letter-writing Meeting at the Athenaeum. 
Corner of California & Hill.  Look for our table downstairs in the 
cafeteria area.  This informal gathering is a great for newcomers to 
get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, January 15, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book 
Discussion Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., 
Pasadena.  This month we read Edward P. Jones' Pulitzer-winning novel, 
The Known World.  (More info below.)


Hi all. It's been awhile since I've written the column- in September my 
work schedule was too crazy!

Robert and I attended the Western Regional Conference, November 11-13 
in San Francisco, as well as other group 22 members, Veronica Raymond, 
Lucas Kamp, and Joyce Wolf. I am hurrying to write this as we are 
driving home before it gets dark! The weather was great in "the city"-- 
not that we had much time to walk around! The conference was titled, "A 
Turning Point for Human Rights" and addressed the need to keep fighting 
for human rights in the repressive climate of the "War on Terror." 
Workshops were held on human rights in US prisons, harassment of LGBT 
persons by police, human rights and corporations, HIV-AIDS in Africa 
and how gender and the debt crisis affect this, diversity in AI,  and a 
new POC from Honduras, just to mention a few.  The opening plenary 
featured Rebiya Kedeer, a Uighur woman (a religious and ethnic minority 
in China), who was a POC  that we wrote letters on behalf of in the 
past. Although she spoke through a translator, the passion and 
forcefulness of her speech came through. She reported that Uighurs are 
still being persecuted in China, including members of her family. Some 
are being held in Guantanamo! Not that everything was so serious-- we 
also heard from Richard Montoya of Culture Clash, a well-known Latino 
comedy and theatre group!

During the conference, several resolutions were discussed and voted on. 
You may be interested to know that the "no-circ" resolution did not 
make it out of the working party and therefore was not voted on! (This 
was an attempt by a group of activists to equate male circumcision with 
FGM, or female genital mutilation and to have AI pass a resolution 
against male circumcision). Other resolutions dealt with putting more 
focus on Prisoner of Conscience cases.

The ending session was a very interesting panel of speakers on "human 
rights and the war on terror" which included the attorney who argued  
Rumsfeld vs. Padilla, the director of the immigrant rights project of 
ACLU, who is suing Don Rumsfeld  and other high ranking  commanders to 
hold them accountable for torture and abuse of detainees in Iraq and 
Afghanistan and an Iranian attorney based in San Francisco who is 
defending Middle Eastern, South Asian and Muslim men targeted by the US 
government solely on the basis of their ethnicity/religion. We also 
heard from Steve Fainaru, Iraq Correspondent for the Washington Post, 
who described his recent experiences in Iraq. He spoke about 
accompanying US troops to villages where all the men/boys of military 
age were "swept up" and then a paid informant randomly selected the 
ones who were "terrorists" --those persons were then detained!

We also had our Christmas cards and "Animals for the Ethical Treatment 
of people" tee shirts for sale, and we did pretty well. (I bought a tee 
shirt from a group from Las Vegas, New Mexico!).

This month be sure to join us on International Human Rights Day, 
December 10, at Cafe' Culture for our first (annual?) write-a-thon.  
Drop by, enjoy a cup of coffee and write a letter or two!
Hope to see you at one of our December events!


Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Special Location!
187 S. Catalina Ave. No. 2, Pasadena
Contact Lucas at 626-795-1785 / for more 
Sunday, December 18, 6:30 PM

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi's memoir 
of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful 
black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life 
in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of 
the Shah's regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the 
devastating effects of war with Iraq.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and 
of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. 
Marjane's child's-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned 
whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does 
the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary 
family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, 
Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human 
cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with 
laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it 
introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help 
but fall in love.

Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Sunday, January 15, 6:30 PM

The Known World by Edward P. Jones

In one of the most acclaimed novels in recent memory, Edward P. Jones, 
two-time National Book Award finalist, tells the story of Henry 
Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage 
of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, 
Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs 
his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him 
unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order and 
chaos ensues. In a daring and ambitious novel, Jones has woven a 
footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at 
slavery in all of its moral complexities.

Another California Execution set for January 17

If you haven't yet written a letter requesting clemency for Stanley 
Williams, you may still do so using the addresses in this action.  We 
must turn however to the next scheduled execution (January 17) in 
California.  California People of Faith Working Against the Death 
Penalty supplies us with the following background:  Clarence Ray Allen, 
a Choctow Indian, will turn 76 years old on Jan. 16, 2006, the day 
before the state intends to execute him. If this execution is carried 
out, Allen will be the oldest man put to death in the U.S. in over 60 
years. Allen is in very poor health, suffering from advanced heart 
disease and diabetes. He is confined to a wheelchair and nearly blind. 
He suffered a major heart attack and on Sept. 2, 2005. He has been 
nearly discipline-free for the past 23 years. Executing him now will be 
gratuitous and uncivilized.
Case History.  Allen was convicted in 1982 for ordering the murders of 
three individuals while serving a life sentence at Folsom State Prison 
for the murder of a young woman in 1974. Billy Hamilton, the man who 
actually carried out the three murders, also received a death 

Case Status.  On Jan. 24, 2005 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied 
Allen's petition for relief.  On Oct. 3, 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court 
denied Allen's request for relief.  Attorney General Bill Lockyer has 
requested that the Glenn County Superior Court set Allen's execution 
date on Jan. 17, 2006.

Can We Trust This Death Sentence?
  (1) Case depends on the testimony of unreliable informant witnesses. 
All of the key witnesses against Allen at trial were co-participants in 
the crimes that he was charged with. The prosecutor gave all of them 
benefits in exchange for their testimony, including the promise that 
some of the witnesses would not be charged with these very same 
murders. All of these witnesses had obvious reasons to lie, shifting 
blame and responsibility to Allen in order to protect themselves.

  (2) Race is a factor in this case. Allen is Native American. All of 
the victims are white. This case was tried in a rural, predominantly 
white county. According to recent study published in the Santa Clara 
Law Review, racial and geographic factors such as these, 
inappropriately effect who is sentenced to death in California.

  (3) Allen had an ineffective, poorly qualified lawyer.  The 9th 
Circuit Court of Appeals said in their opinion denying Allen relief, 
 "Trial counsel admits he did nothing to prepare for the penalty phase 
until after the guilty verdicts were rendered, and even then, in what 
little time was available, he failed sufficiently to investigate and 
adequately present available mitigating evidence." His performance, 
according to the court, "fell below an objective standard of 

  (4) Other serious mistakes were made. The judge gave the jury the 
wrong instructions on the law, stating "If you conclude that the 
aggravating evidence outweighs the mitigating evidence, you shall 
return a death sentence."  This is not an accurate statement of the 
law. The jury was completely misled by the judge and the prosecutor. In 
addition, the jury should have considered only 3 aggravating factors, 
but mistakenly considered 11 aggravating factors. On this issue, the 
9th Circuit stated in its denial of relief, "No one disputes that the 
trial court erred."

  (5) How can we execute Allen while the Justice Commission investigates 
these issues? The California Commission on the Fair Administration of 
Justice has been established to study exactly these kinds of mistakes. 
No one should be executed while the Justice Commission is conducting 
this in-depth study.   The Justice Commission must report its 
recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by Dec. 31, 2007. 

  (6) This execution will not deter other murders. The percentage of 
people convicted of murder who then murder again while in prison is 
only one fifth of one percent -- regardless of whether the state does or 
does not have the death penalty. The threat of death in those states 
where it is available does not have even an incremental effect on that 
rate. ("The Deterrent Effect of the Death Penalty on Prison Murder," W. 
Wolfson in Bedau, The Death Penalty in America, 1982) 
Please send letters and emails requesting clemency for Clarence Ray 
Allen to the Governor and the Parole Board:
	Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
	State Capitol Building
	Sacramento, CA 95814
	Phone: 916-445-2841
	Fax: 916-445-4633
	To send an Electronic Mail please visit:

Board of Parole Hearings
1515 K Street
  	Suite 600
  	Sacramento, CA 95814
  	(916) 445-4072

Human Rights Violations in Oil-Rich Niger Delta

"It is like paradise and hell. They have everything. We have nothing... 
If we protest, they send soldiers."
  Eghare W.O. Ojhogar, chief of the Ugborodo community.

"I was told to kneel down on the beach with some of the chiefs and 
their hands were tied behind their backs. Then the soldiers started 
beating them with horsewhips, and told us to eat sand."
  Cadbury George Omieh, Igno XXI, Amanyanabo (King) of Odioma.

Ten years after the execution of human rights advocate Ken Saro-Wiwa 
and eight fellow activists, a new Amnesty International (AI) report 
reveals that the people of Nigeria's oil-producing Niger Delta continue 
to face death and devastation at the hands of security forces. In 
particular, members of poverty-stricken communities who protest the 
actions of Chevron, Shell or their subcontractors, or are suspected of 
obstructing oil production, risk collective punishment by forces 
charged with protecting major oil installations.

"A decade after executions that horrified the world, the exploitation 
of oil in the Niger Delta continues to result in deprivation, injustice 
and violence," said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director for 
Amnesty International USA (AIUSA). "Security forces are allowed to kill 
and raze communities with impunity, and civilians who escape such 
injustices often suffer the pollution that saps their health and 
renders their economic livelihood impossible. That Nigeria's federal 
government continues to turn a blind eye to its own people is 

The report, Ten Years On: injustice and violence haunt the oil Delta, 
focuses on human rights violations committed this year at the Escravos 
oil terminal and in the community of Odioma, both on the Niger Delta 

On February 4, soldiers from Nigeria's Joint Task Force fired on 
protesters from Ugborodo at Chevron Nigeria's Escravos oil terminal. 
One man was shot and later died from his injuries while 30 other 
demonstrators were injured, some of them seriously by blows from rifle 
butts and other weapons. It took several hours to transport the injured 
by boat to a hospital. Neither the government nor Chevron Nigeria 
provided adequate medical care or assistance to transport the injured; 
no thorough, independent inquiry has been carried out into the 

On February 19, at least 17 people were killed and two women reportedly 
were raped when Joint Task Force soldiers raided the Ijaw community of 
Odioma. The raid ostensibly was to arrest members of an armed vigilante 
group, but the suspects were not captured and about 80 percent of homes 
in the area were destroyed. The previous month, Shell Nigeria had 
withdrawn plans for oil exploration in the area, reportedly after 
youths from Odioma demanded a halt to operations and the company became 
aware that ownership of the land was disputed. An inquiry into the raid 
has not been made public, no one has been charged and Odioma is now 
almost deserted.

"Chevron must commission an independent, impartial investigation into 
the company's role during the incidents at Escravos terminal," said 
Mila Rosenthal, Director of AIUSA's Business and Human Rights Program. 
"The company promised to ensure respect for human rights in its 
worldwide operations, but its actions in Nigeria tell a different 

AI also demands that Shell investigate allegations of a security 
arrangement between a Shell Nigeria subcontractor and a criminal group 
in Odioma, and calls on the Nigerian federal government to conduct 
thorough and independent inquiries into allegations that security 
forces killed, injured and raped civilians and destroyed their 
property. The findings should be made public and those responsible for 
human rights violations brought justice.

Act now to support the human rights claims of the Niger Delta people. 
Join the campaign for governments and companies to be accountable for 
human rights abuses in the communities of the Niger Delta.

Call on The Nigerian federal government to:
-	urgently conduct thorough and independent inquiries into allegations 
that the security forces killed, injured or attacked civilians or 
damaged their property in incidents on 4 February 2005 at Escravos 
terminal and on 19 February 2005 in Odioma, to establish whether 
excessive force was used; make  public the findings of these inquiries 
and of the Bayelsa State inquiry into the Odioma case; and bring those 
responsible for human rights violations to justice  ensure that all 
members of the security forces receive  training in international 
standards on the use of force and  firearms, in particular the 1979 UN 
Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the 1990 UN Basic 
Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement 
His Excellency
Olusegun Obasanjo
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Office of the President, Aso Rock
Abuja, Federal Capital Territory

Call on Chevron to
-	commission an independent and impartial investigation into Chevron 
Nigeria's role, responsibility and conduct in relation to incidents on 
4 February 2005 at Escravos terminal in which the security forces 
allegedly killed, injured or attacked civilians suspend all security 
arrangements with individuals who have allegedly abused human rights 
and terminate the arrangements if the individuals are found after 
investigation to be responsible for such abuses; and make public the 
findings of such investigation.
David J. O'Reilly
Chairman of the board and Chief Executive Officer
Chevron Corporation
6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd
San Ramon, CA 94583, USA

Call on Shell to
-	investigate allegations of a security arrangement between a Shell 
Nigeria subcontractor and a criminal group in Odioma; make public the 
findings of such investigations; and halt immediately any 
subcontractual relationship that is found to benefit criminals either 
directly or indirectly.
Jeroen van der Veer
Chief Executive Officer
Shell International
Shell Centre
London SE1 7NA, UK

Denounce Torture	10
OutFront	10
Death Penalty 	25
Urgent Actions	18
Total:	63
Want to add your letters to the total?  Get in touch with

Force Feeding of Prisoners at Guantanamo

Some of the Guantanamo detainees who have been on hunger strike since 
12 August are being forcibly fed by the authorities. Some of those who 
participated in the hunger strike, including Saudi Arabian national 
Yousef al-Shehri, may not be receiving adequate medical treatment for 
injuries he apparently sustained during force-feeding.

On 26 October a District Court judge ruled that lawyers for the hunger 
strikers must be informed by US authorities 24 hours before the 
detainees are force-fed. Ruling on a petition filed by a law firm 
representing ten Guantanamo detainees from Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia 
and Afghanistan, Judge Gladys Kessler also ordered the US government to 
give the lawyers access to their client's medical records for the week 
prior to any force-feeding.

Lawyers for the ten detainees visited Guantanamo from 30 September to 2 
October and met a number of their clients, including two participating 
in the current hunger strike. One of their clients, Yousef al-Shehri, 
described how after approximately seven days without food or water, he 
and four other prisoners were taken to the camp hospital where they 
were verbally abused, insulted and placed in shackles or other 
restraints on their arms, legs, waist, chest, knees and head. After 
this he said they were given intravenous medication and described how, 
if they moved, they were hit in the chest area. The detainees were then 
apparently told, falsely, that a court had ordered that they be 
forcibly fed. The petition describes how Yousef al-Shehri, who is 
believed to have been a juvenile when initially detained, was 
administered the force-feeding: "Yousef was given no anaesthesia or 
sedative for the procedure; instead two soldiers restrained him -- one 
holding his chin while the other held him back by his hair, and a 
medical staff member forcefully inserted the tube in his nose and down 
his throat. Much blood came out of his nose..." After two or three days 
he was given liquid supplement through the tube. He said that he and 
other prisoners were "vomiting up substantial amounts of blood. When 
they vomited up blood, the soldiers mocked and cursed them, and taunted 
them with statements like 'look what your religion has brought you.'"

After two weeks of force-feeding, the detainees said that they were 
transferred from the hospital and placed in solitary cells. They 
described how the soldiers laughed and made fun of them, rattled the 
bars on their cells day and night and interrupted their prayers. After 
five days they describe being transferred to a different area with foam 
walls, and a hole in the floor for a toilet. Here they allege that the 
guards began inserting larger, thicker tubes into their noses. 
According to Yousef al-Shehri, these larger tubes were forcibly 
inserted up their noses and down into their stomachs without 
anaesthesia or sedative. When the tube was removed, he described how 
"blood came gushing out of him". He and several other detainees 
apparently fainted and told that the tubes would be inserted and 
removed twice a day until the hunger strike ended. The tubes were 
reportedly forcibly inserted and removed in a brutal manner by men 
identified by prisoners as members of the Immediate Reaction Force 
(IRF) rather than by the doctors who were present in the room. On one 
occasion a member of the IRF is said to have taken the tube from the 
nose of one detainee and re-inserted it into another detainee's nose 
without cleaning it first. A doctor was apparently present at the time, 
but did nothing to intervene,

according to Amnesty International's information. According to Yousef 
al-Shehri's lawyers, he can no longer walk, has lost some of his vision 
and has been vomiting regularly since the force-feeding. He is also 
said to suffer from severe headaches, pain in his ear and is only able 
to urinate once every few days. They describe him as being visibly weak 
and frail with speaking difficulties due to lesions in his throat from 
the force-feeding. Amnesty International fears that he is not receiving 
adequate medical attention for his injuries.

The lawyers met another of their clients, Saudi Arabian national 
Abdul-Rahman Shalabi, who is said to have independently confirmed the 
treatment described by Yousef al-Shehri, including the forcible 
insertion and removal of the nasal tubes by members of the IRF. 
Abdul-Rahman Shalabi reportedly told his lawyers of his determination 
to die, saying, "Now, after four years in captivity, life and death are 
the same". He also spoke of the other detainees participating in the 
hunger strike: "These detainees are young. They are innocent - Now, the 
situation is more severe. It has been four years now - All the promises 
we've been given are lies. We lost trust - there is no law here, only 

Lawyers for Kuwaiti detainee, Fawzi al-Odah recently disclosed that he 
has asked them to file court papers to seek the removal of his feeding 
tube "out of desperation" over his imprisonment without charge.

The head of the detainee medical facility at Guantanamo has stated that 
the nasal tubes are always inserted with a lubricant and anaesthetic if 
necessary and were never administered in a manner intentionally 
designed to inflict pain or harm on the detainees. A number of medical 
experts have commented that forcible feeding of hunger striking 
prisoners by physicians is contrary to internationally agreed medical 
ethics, including standards of the World Medical Association.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as 
- expressing serious concern at reports that Guantanamo detainees 
participating in the hunger strike may be being force-fed in a manner 
which is deliberately intended to cause harm and inflict suffering;

- expressing particular concern at the allegations that members of the 
IRF have been inserting and removing nasal tubes in a brutal manner in 
the presence of medical personnel, and stating that the force-feeding 
methods used may constitute torture or other ill-treatment;

- calling for an independent inquiry into the specific allegations of 
abuse against Yousef al-Shehri;

- calling for all the detainees who have participated, or who continue 
to participate in the hunger strike, to be given immediate access to 
adequate medical care and treatment;

- calling for all Guantanamo detainees to be released unless they are 
to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and tried in full 
accordance with international standards for fair trial.

Donald Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington DC 20301

Matthew Waxman
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs
2500 Defense Pentagon 5E420
Washington, DC 20301

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