Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIV Number 3, April 2006


Thursday, April 27, 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 
and more.

Tuesday, May 9, 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 way for newcomers 
to get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, May 21, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This 
month we read Emma Larkin's Finding George Orwell in Burma (More 


Hi everyone.  Hope you had a nice holiday. Robert and I went to San 
Diego (Easter was our first wedding anniversary!); we will bring some 
food to my folks in the Valley this weekend and have a nice dinner with 

Thanks to the great organizational and persuasion skills of Group 22 
member Paula Tavrow, Amnesty had a tent at Camp Dafur, a week long 
educational encampment at Lennox Middle School near Inglewood. Group 22 
members Joyce, Lucas, Paula, Azadeh and Mehdi staffed the tent, held 
discussions on the various articles of the Universal Declaration of 
Human Rights and assisted visitors to write letters and send postcards 
re the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Paula and Ido Dooseman each spent the 
night in the tent as "refugees". Thanks also to the Western Regional AI 
office for assisting with the scheduling and Darcie Olson for supplying 

Earth Day, April 22 was celebrated Friday April 21 at Caltech and also 
the next day in Memorial Park in Pasadena. Joyce and Martha volunteered 
for both events with Stevi helping out at Caltech and Paula, Robert and 
myself joining in the Old Town fun. The kids drew outlines of their 
hands on a petition to send to Chevron asking them to clean up 
pollution created by oil drilling/exploration in the Amazon region of 
Ecuador. There was also a petition to Dow Chemical asking them to clean 
up the Bhopal, India Union Carbide factory (now owned by Dow).  Group 
22 added 90 signatures to the Chevron petition (plus 50 children's 
handprints!) and 70 to the Dow petition to the thousands being 
collected by activists around the country for Earth Day.  Both 
petitions will be presented at shareholder meetings in coming weeks as 
part of Amnesty's "Share Power" campaign for better corporate 

Nepal has been in the news lately. Krishna Pahadi, the former president 
of Amnesty Nepal, was arrested Jan 2006 along with 3,000 others who 
were campaigning for democracy and human rights in Nepal. He spoke at 
the AI Western Regional Conference in San Francisco that was held Nov 
9-11.  Please see the action below on his behalf.

Take care,

Human Rights Activists Detained

Human rights and peace activists Krishna Pahadi, Dr Devendra Raj 
Pandey, Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha and journalist Shyam Shrestha 
continue to be detained. Amnesty International is calling for their 
immediate and unconditional release as prisoners of conscience, held 
solely as a result of their peaceful exercise of the rights of freedom 
of expression and of free association. Three of the detainees, Krishna 
Pahadi, Dr Devendra Raj Pandey and Dr Mathura Shrestha, are the leaders 
of an organization known as the Citizens' Movement for Democracy and 
Peace, which is campaigning for the restoration of democracy and human 
rights in Nepal.

Krishna Pahadi and Shyam Shrestha are detained at the Armed Police 
Force Barracks No. 2 at Ranibari, in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. Dr 
Devendra Raj Pandey is reportedly detained at Naxal Armed Police 
Battalion No. 1 and Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha at the National Police 
Academy, also located in Maharajgunj. Krishna Pahadi's health has 
improved, following hospital treatment for high cholesterol and 
polycythemia (a disease affecting blood cell levels) on 15 February. He 
has returned to hospital for checkups on at least two occasions and 
continues to take medication.

The five men named above were among more than 3,000 political party and 
human rights activists were arrested in late January and early February 
2006. Their arrests came just before and during demonstrations in 
Kathmandu and other districts of the country in protest against 
municipal elections called for 8 February.

Demonstrators also called for the restoration of democracy and human 
rights. The great majority of these people were arbitrarily arrested 
for exercising their right to freedom of peaceful assembly or 
expressing their political opinion. The Office of the High Commissioner 
for Human Rights in Nepal noted that in every case that a detainee was 
brought before the courts, their detention was found to be illegal.

It is reported that eleven activists, including those named above, 
still remain in detention; ten in Kathmandu and one in the town of 
Pokhara. They are being held under the Public Security Act (PSA), which 
permits detention without trial, initially for up to 90 days, to 
prevent persons from committing actions that "undermine the 
sovereignty, integrity or public tranquility and order of the Kingdom."

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as 
- welcoming the release of Kundan Raj Kafle and other student leaders 
and party activists on 20 February;
- appealing for the immediate and unconditional release of Krishna 
Pahadi, Shyam Shrestha, Dr Devendra Raj
Pandey, and Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha, whom Amnesty International 
considers to be prisoners of conscience detained solely for the 
peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression and of free 
- calling for all the detainees to be granted immediate access to their 
relatives and legal counsel, and medical treatment if required;
- urging that all detainees be held in an officially recognized place 
of detention and, in conformity with national law, be brought before a 
judicial authority promptly after detention;
- calling on the authorities to ensure that all legislation used to 
arrest and detain is in conformity with international standards to 
which Nepal is a state party.

His Majesty the King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev
C/O The Chief of Protocol Division
Dr. Rambhakta P.B.Thakur
Protocol Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Shital Niwas
Kathmandu, Nepal
Salutation: Your Majesty

Minister Kamal Thapa
Minister of Home Affairs
Singha Durbar
Kathmandu, Nepal
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister Niranjan Thapa
Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs
Singha Durbar
Kathmandu, Nepal
Salutation: Dear Minister

Shyam Bhakta Thapa
Inspector General of Police
Police Headquarters, GPO Box 407
Kathmandu, Nepal
Salutation: Dear Inspector General

Ambassador Kedar B. Shrestha
Royal Nepalese Embassy
2131 Leroy Pl. NW
Washington DC 20008

Amnesty Partners with Director of Indian Film

Amnesty International USA is proud to announce its support of "Water," 
a film directed by the courageous and provocative filmmaker Deepa 
Mehta.  "Water" is the profoundly moving and compellingly vibrant story 
of India's "widow houses," where women of all ages are taken to live 
(even today) apart from society following the deaths of their husbands.
Sprinkled with humor, rife with universal emotions and alive with 
visual excitement, the story of WATER follows three widows who dared to 
stand up for themselves in the liberating time of Mahatma Gandhi.
Learn about the film at  The film opens in 
Pasadena (Playhouse 7) on May 5.

A sample letter on current concerns regarding gender based violence in 
India follows:

Chief Minister of Gujarat Shri Modi
Chief Minister's Office, Block No 1, 5th Floor
New Sachivalaya

RE: Bring to justice those responsible for the crimes in Gujarat

Dear Chief Minister of Gujarat Modi

I am writing you today out of concern that four years after the 
violence against Muslims on your state, that justice still has not been 
done. As the Chief Minister of your state and under Indian and 
international law, you are in the position to bring to justice those 
responsible for the crimes, including crimes of sexual violence and 
gender based discrimination. I write to urge you to live up to your 
commitments under the Indian constitution and give your attention 
towards prosecuting the perpetuators of the violence of women and 
children in in early 2002.

I would like to urge you to first thoroughly investigate all reports of 
police participation in crimes of sexual violence and all crimes 
intended to degrade or humiliate. We also urge you to implement 
legislation such that women and girls are to have legal equality by 
removing discriminatory legislation by enacting new legislation that 
gives women equal rights. I urge you then to investigate the reported 
failure of police to perform their constitutional duty to protect 
against imminent sexual violence.
I also ask that you take urgent steps to end impunity in your state. By 
training police officers in gender sensitivity recruitment, referring 
victims of sexual assault to a medico legal practitioner for medical 
examinations by the police, recruiting and appointing investigating 
officers who are specialized in cases of sexual violence and witnessing 
protection schemes implemented for all victims who are at risk of 
testifying. In the case whereby police and judiciary should fail to 
provide justice and reparations, I urge you totake the strictest 
possible action, without fear or favor, against all those individuals 
and organizations, who spread social discord, disturb social amity, and 
propagate religious bigotry and communal hatred.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I would appreciate being 
kept informed about measures taken within your state to protect women 
from violence in the State of Gujarat.

Sincerely, Your Name and Address

Urgent Actions	15
Total:	15
To add your letters to the total contact

Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Sunday, May 21, 6:30 PM
Keep up with Rights Readers at

Finding George Orwell in Burma
by Emma Larkin

In one of the most intrepid travelogues in recent memory, Emma Larkin 
tells of the year she spent traveling through Burma, using as a compass 
the life and work of George Orwell, whom many of Burma's  underground 
teahouse intellectuals call simply "the Prophet." In stirring prose, 
she provides a powerful reckoning with one of the world's least free 
countries. Finding George Orwell in Burma is a brave and revelatory 
reconnaissance of modern Burma, one of the world's grimmest and most 
shuttered police states, where the term "Orwellian" aptly describes the 
life endured by the country's people.

"A truer picture of authoritarianism than anyone has written since, 
perhaps, Orwell himself."  -- Mother Jones
"Mournful, meditative, appealingly idiosyncratic . . . an exercise in 
literary detection but also a political travelogue."  -- The New York 
"Combining literary criticism with solid field reporting, [Larkin] 
captures the country at its best and, more often, its worst." -- San 
Francisco Chronicle

Free Burmese Activist Ma Khin Khin Leh

To inspire us to read this month's Rights Readers selection, here's a 
sample letter for a prisoner of conscience in Burma.

Senior General Than Shwe
Chairman, State Peace and Development Council
c/o Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
2300 S Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Dear Senior General Than Shwe:

I respectfully urge you to take swift action to free prisoner of 
conscience Ma Khin Khin Leh, who has been imprisoned solely due to her 
peaceful political activities. Ma Khin Khin Leh and her husband were 
among a group of people planning a demonstration to take place in the 
town of Bago on July 19, 1999. Days before the demonstration was to 
occur, security agents arrested Ma Khin Khin Leh and her three-year-old 
daughter. Although her daughter was released after five days in 
detention, Ma Khin Khin Leh was transferred to Insein Prison in Yangon. 
Following an unfair trial, a court sentenced her in December 1999 to 
life imprisonment under vaguely-worded security legislation. Ma Khin 
Khin Leh is believed to be held in Myanmar's notorious Insein Prison, 
where she reportedly suffers from an unspecified lung problem, 
rheumatoid arthritis and dysentery. Amnesty International is concerned 
for her safety and well-being.

I am concerned that broad security laws are used in Myanmar to 
prosecute people for peaceful political and religious activities. As 
you know, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that all 
people have the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the 
right to peaceful assembly and association.

I urge you to bring about the immediate and unconditional release of Ma 
Khin Khin Leh and all prisoners of conscience in Myanmar. Thank you.


Immigration Law threatens Asylum Applicants
While much of the public debate regarding the immigration legislation 
concerns whether or not to provide paths to citizenship, guestworker 
status or increased border enforcement, other proposed but lesser known 
provisions are of great concern to human rights activists who seek to 
protect applicants for political asylum.  Here is a sample letter 
outlining those concerns:

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-0505

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

RE: Preserve Fair Asylum Procedures

Dear Senator Feinstein

As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to ensure that any 
immigration legislation passed by the Senate does not prevent victims 
of persecution from receiving a fair hearing for asylum in the United 

I am very concerned that the bills currently pending make it a crime to 
have used false documents in order to arrive at our borders-- those 
fleeing persecution often have no choice other than to escape without 
proper identification, or travel and entry documents, and should not be 
prosecuted for such. And to then imprison those same people immediately 
is a further insult. It is tremendously difficult to make an asylum 
claim while in detention, and forcing people to do so only increases 
the chances that their claims will be denied and that they will be 
returned to danger.

The limiting of judicial review of those same claims, which will be 
discussed in separate hearings, is the last step in eroding meaningful 
access to asylum procedures

Senator, asylum seekers come to the United States because we hold our 
country up as a place of refuge and security for those who have been 
persecuted. Such people need our assistance and compassion. If we do 
not welcome them, who will?
I hope that you will consider my concerns during the Senate's 
immigration debate. The United States must not shut the door on its 
stated commitment to welcome those in need of its protection.

Your Name and Address

Free Prisoner of Conscience
President Islam Karimov
700163 g. Tashkent,
ul. Uzbekistanskaia, 43
Prezidentu Respubliki Uzbekistan Karimovu I.A.


Dear President Karimov:

I am deeply concerned about human rights defender Saidzhakhon 
Zainabitdinov who was reportedly sentenced on January 5, 2006 to seven 
years' imprisonment after a secret trial at which neither his family 
nor his lawyer were present. Saidzhakhon Zainabitdinov is the 
chairperson of the human rights group Apelliatsia (Appeal). He was 
monitoring a trial and public protests in the eastern city of Andizhan 
when the protests escalated on May 12-13, 2005. Security forces 
allegedly opened fire indiscriminately into a crowd of mainly unarmed 
civilians, killing hundreds and wounding many others. Saidzhakhon 
Zainabitdinov's account of the events, which was cited by the 
international media, differed significantly from the official version 
given by authorities.

Saidzhakhon Zainabitdinov was arbitrarily detained on May 21, 2005 and 
has been held incommunicado for most of the time since then. Based on 
the well-documented history of human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, 
Amnesty International considers him at serious risk of being subjected 
to torture and other ill-treatment.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture has described the use 
of torture and ill-treatment in Uzbekistan as "systematic". Amnesty 
International considers Saidzhakhon Zainabitdinov to be a prisoner of 
conscience, imprisoned solely for carrying out his peaceful and 
legitimate human rights work. I appeal to you to ensure that he is 
immediately and unconditionally released and that his safety is 
guaranteed until then.

Your Name and Address

copy to:
Ambassador Abdulaziz Khafizovich Kamilov
Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan
1746 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036