Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIV Number 2, February 2006


Thursday, February 23, 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.

Thursday, March 9, 7:00 PM.  Conscientious Projector Screening of 
"Deadline."  Metro Gallery, 64 North Raymond Avenue, Old Pasadena.  
Save the date for this film, doubly important as we strategize for a 
moratorium on executions in our state:  What would you do if you 
discovered that 13 people slated for execution had been found innocent? 
That was exactly the question that Illinois Governor George Ryan faced 
in his final days in office. He alone was left to decide whether 167 
death row inmates should live or die. In the riveting countdown to 
Ryan's decision, Deadline details the gripping drama of the state's 
clemency hearings. Documented as the events unfold, Deadline is a 
compelling look inside America's prisons, highlighting one man's 
unlikely and historic actions against the system.

Tuesday, March 14, 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, March 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.  This 
month we read Peter Robb's A Death in Brazil (More below.)


Hi everyone. Hope this finds you well.

Group 22 members Stevie Caroll, Lucas Kamp, Joyce Wolf, Robert and 
Kathy Adams, Ido Dooseman, Paul Wagner and Marti Moss took the Gold 
Line light rail from Pasadena to Union Station, then to the Red Line to 
MOCA to see the exhibit "Masters of American Comics" on Sunday February 
12.  Our fearless leader Martha TerMaat, arranged the outing for us 
since we recently read Persopolis, a graphic novel about Iran by 
Marjane Satrapi in our Rights Readers reading group. Although she was 
not able to join us, she was with us in spirit. Highlights of the 
exhibit for me were panels from "Maus" by Art Speigelman, a graphic 
novel about his father's experiences in the Holocaust with the 
prisoners as mice and guards as cats(!) and the underground comics by 
R. Crumb.  There was a lot of superhero-type stuff also that I wasn't 
as interested in. Lucas also attended a free concert at the Coburn 
School next to MOCA. I would definitely recommend this exhibit and also 
our method of travel via light rail-beats driving any day!

Amnesty USA will have a new Executive director, effective May 1, 2006. 
Larry Cox worked for the the Rainforest Foundation in the past and 
currently works for the Ford Foundation as Senior Program Officer for 
their Human Rights Unit. He has also held many positions within 

April 28-30, the AGM will be held in Portland, Oregon. The title is
"Make Some Noise-Human Rights At High Volume". Workshops/speakers on 
various topics such as the women of Juarez, Niger Delta, War on Terror, 
rural organizing, Death Penalty, plus many more will be featured. For 
info and/or to sign up, go to

Amnesty USA is hosting online discussions of indefinite detentions and 
extraordinary renditions in the War on Terror on Feb 21 and 28 from 1-2 
pm eastern time. To participate, go to and 
click on "events" to sign up. You can submit questions in advance from 
the website.

At our letter-writing meeting, we were discussing the prisoners at 
Guantanamo naval base in Cuba who were on hunger strike and were being 
force-fed.  An action on this issue is featured below.

Finally, please join us on March 9 (see Upcoming Events for details) 
for the screening of Deadline, a film about the death penalty 
moratorium in Illinois, followed by discussion with our community 
partners about how we can re-energize our moratorium campaign in 

Take care,

Concern for Guantanamo Hunger Strikers

Detainees at Guantanamo participating in the hunger strike are reported 
to have been placed into isolation, strapped into restraint chairs, 
been subjected to painful force-feeding methods and deprived of 
"comfort items" such as blankets and books.

Kuwaiti national Fawzi al-Odah told his lawyer that on 11 January 2006 
he ended his hunger strike after being threatened with force-feeding 
using a thick tube with a metal edge whilst restrained. He says that 
the previous day he had heard the screams of a detainee in an adjacent 
room being force-fed in this manner and that he had also heard a doctor 
tell this detainee, "I have to do this, I have to cause you pain." The 
detainee who was force-fed later advised Fawzi al-Odah that he should 
eat voluntarily so as not to experience the pain.

Lawyers for other detainees have told Amnesty International that the 
hunger strikers have been moved into isolation in cold rooms, strapped 
into restraint chairs and deliberately force-fed too much food, causing 
them extreme pain and, in some cases, diarrhea. Many of the hunger 
strikers were forced to submit to this process several times a day.

Fawzi al-Odah has said that some of those detainees were forced to 
urinate and defecate on themselves because they remained strapped to 
the restraint chairs. Some are also said to have vomited blood. As a 
result of these force-feeding methods the numbers participating in the 
hunger strike is believed to have dropped dramatically. Of the 
long-term hunger strikers, only three or four are thought to be 
continuing, although some reports suggest that a number of other 
detainees have now joined the hunger strike to protest against the 
force-feeding methods. Fawzi al-Odah's lawyer has stated that "it is 
clear that the government has ended the hunger strike through the use 
of force and through the most brutal and inhumane types of treatment."

A Pentagon spokesperson has said that force-feeding is being carried 
out in "a humane and compassionate manner" and was used only when 
necessary to keep the detainees alive. Twenty-five "Emergency Restraint 
Chairs" are reported to have been sent to Guantanamo between 5 December 
2005 and 10 January 2006.

Detainees at Guantanamo began the current hunger strike in August 2005. 
They are demanding for their rights under international law to be 
respected, and to be released if they are not charged and given a fair 
trial. They have also requested that organizations such as Amnesty 
International be permitted to visit them. Some have expressed their 
determination to continue the hunger strike until death.

Amnesty International neither opposes nor recommends forcible feeding 
of prisoners on hunger strike. However, if forcible feeding is done in 
such a way as deliberately to cause suffering, Amnesty International 
considers that this may constitute torture or other cruel, inhuman or 
degrading treatment. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture has declared 
that if the reports about the force-feeding methods being used at 
Guantánamo are true, then it would amount to cruel treatment.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as 
- expressing serious concern at the latest allegations that hunger 
strikers at Guantanamo are being force-fed in a manner which may amount 
to torture or ill-treatment;
- calling for independent medical experts to be given access to all the 
detainees at Guantanamo;
- 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;
- stating that lawyers and families of the detainees should be kept 
fully informed as to their legal status, health and wellbeing.

Dr William Winkenwerder JR.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
US Department of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington D.C. 20301-1200

Army Brig General John Gong
Joint Task Force Guantanamo
Guantanamo Naval Base, CUBA

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 2031

Algerian/French national faces torture in Algeria

Nouamane Meziche was arrested shortly after he arrived in Algeria from 
Germany on 5 January. The authorities have since refused to tell his 
family where he is held, and he is in grave danger of torture. He had 
flown in to the capital, Algiers, from Frankfurt in Germany. He was 
arrested by the border police at Houari Boumediene airport. He was able 
to telephone his mother two days later, on 7 January, to say that he 
had been arrested and was held at a police detention center in the Ben 
Aknoun district of Algiers. When family members went there to see him 
they were told that he had been handed over to the custody of the 
Departement du renseignement et de la securite' (DRS), Department of 
Information and Security, for questioning in connection with alleged 
"terrorist" activities abroad. They were told to leave without finding 
out where he was held. Nouamane Meziche, who was born in France, has 
dual French and Algerian nationality. He had been living in Hamburg, 
Germany, with his wife and two children. He had left Algeria in 1992 
after the army had intervened to stop elections, which a now-banned 
Islamist party, the Front Islamique du Salut (FIS), Islamic Salvation 
Front, were set to win. Violent conflict broke out the following year 
between the government and self-styled "Islamic" armed groups.

One of Nouamane Meziche's brothers joined an armed group during the 
internal conflict, and was reportedly killed by the security forces in 
1996. His father and another brother were arrested in 1995, apparently 
for no reason other than the activities of the first brother, and have 
not been seen since.

Thousands of Algerians "disappeared" during the internal conflict for 
their alleged or perceived support of the FIS, or of armed groups. 
Thousands more were sentenced to prison terms in unfair trials, many of 
them in their absence. Before Nouamane Meziche returned to Algeria on 5 
January, his family had made enquiries with the Algerian judicial 
authorities to make sure that he would not be at risk of arrest if he 
returned to the country. There was apparently no arrest warrant against 
him, and he had not been sentenced in any trials which had taken place 
during his absence.

Detainees may be held without charge for a maximum of 12 days, under 
Article 51 of the Algerian Penal Procedures Code. The arresting 
authorities must immediately give them the opportunity to communicate 
with their families and to receive visits from them. The provisions of 
this law are routinely violated in "terrorist" cases. Those arrested 
are systematically held in secret for 12 days, and sometimes beyond 
this limit, until they are either brought before the examining 
magistrates or released without charge. It is while they are in secret 
detention in police, gendarmerie or DRS centers that detainees are most 
at risk of torture, ill-treatment and "disappearance". During the 
1990s, more than 4,000 people "disappeared" in Algeria after they were 
arrested, and their whereabouts are still unknown. The most serious 
reports of torture and ill-treatment come from detention centers used 
by the DRS. Algeria's civil authorities appear to exercise little or no 
control over the activities of the DRS. Judicial authorities routinely 
overlook allegations of abuse by the DRS, so that its officers enjoy 
effective impunity.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as 
- expressing concern for the safety of Nouamane Meziche, who was 
arrested at Houari Boumediene airport on 5 January;
- expressing concern at reports that he has been detained at an 
undisclosed location since 7 January, in violation of Article 51 of the 
Algerian Penal Procedures Code;
- asking why he has been detained, and calling on the authorities to 
release him immediately unless he is to be charged with a recognizably 
criminal offence;
- urging the authorities to ensure that he is treated humanely while he 
is in custody, and protected from torture and ill-treatment;
- calling on the authorities to tell his family where he is detained, 
and to ensure that he can communicate with them and is given any 
medical attention he may require.

Interior Minister:
His Excellency Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni
Ministre de l'Interieur
Ministere de l'Interieur et des Collectivites Locales
Palais du Gouvernement
18 rue Docteur Saadane
Salutation: Your Excellency/Excellence

Justice Minister:
His Excellency Tayeb Belaiz
Ministre de la Justice
Ministere de la Justice
8 Place Bir Hakem
16030 El Biar
Salutation: Your Excellency/Excellence

Official human rights body, reporting to president:
Commission nationale consultative de promotion et
de protection des droits de l'Homme
M. Mustapha Farouk Ksentinin (President)
Palais du Peuple
Avenue Franklin Roosevelt

Ambassador Amine Kherbi
Embassy of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria
2118 Kalorama Rd. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 667 2174

Tell Yahoo! to End Censorship in China!

Censorship aided by giant internet corporations has been much in the 
news lately.  It has real consequences!  Here's a sample letter to 
Yahoo! executives protesting Yahoo!'s enabling of the arrest of 
journalist/poet Shi Tao.

Co-founder David Filo
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Co-founder Jerry Yang
Yahoo! Inc.
701 First Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Dear Mr. _______,

I am writing to you to express my deep concern over recent allegations 
that your company has assisted authorities in China in events which led 
to the imprisonment of Shi Tao, a Chinese journalist. On April 27, 
2005, Shi Tao received a ten-year prison term for sending information 
about a Communist Party decision through his Yahoo email account to a 
website based in the United States. Amnesty International considers him 
a Prisoner of Conscience, as he was imprisoned for peacefully 
exercising his right to freedom of expression and opinion.

I am alarmed that in the pursuit of new and lucrative markets, your 
company is contributing to human rights violations. Yahoo should 
urgently give consideration to the human rights implications of its 
business operations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls 
upon every organ of society, which includes companies, to respect human 

Yahoo's conduct in Shi Tao's case has exposed your company to the risk 
of being complicit in human rights violations. I therefore call upon 
Yahoo to:
-- Use its influence to secure Shi Tao's release
-- Stop any actions that could undermine human rights in any country in 
which you operate
-- Take immediate steps to ensure that all your units (the parent 
corporation and subsidiaries) uphold human rights responsibilities for 
companies, as outlined by the UN Norms for Business
-- Develop an explicit human rights policy, ensuring that it complies 
with the UN Norms for Business.



Death Penalty 	4
Urgent Actions	33
Total:	37
To add your letters to the total contact

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

Death in Brazil
by Peter Robb
Deliciously sensuous and fascinating, Robb renders in vivid detail the 
intoxicating pleasures of  Brazil's food, music, literature, and 
landscape as he travels not only cross country but also back in 
time - from the days of slavery to modern day political intrigue and 
murder. Spellbinding and revelatory, Peter Robb paints a multi-layered 
portrait of Brazil as a country of intoxicating and passionate 

Protect Guatemalan Sisters

Once again, an opportunity for everyone to join in solidarity with 
young activists by writing letters on behalf of children at risk of 
human rights violations.

Amnesty International is worried about Margarita del Rosario Monterrosa 
Alvarez and Lauramara Monterrosa Alvarez. The girls' father, Romeo 
Monterrosa, is a lawyer* who is representing a human rights 
organization called The Mutual Support Group (GAM) and other Guatemalan 
activists who are working for human rights and justice in Guatemala. 
Romeo Monterrosa, his wife, and his two daughters are being threatened 
because of Romeo's work to defend peasants* who claim rights to 
Guatemalan land. Margarita and Lauramara's father fears the girls may 
be hurt in order to make him stop his work on these cases.

BACKGROUND: Powerful landowners in Guatemala don't want to give up 
their land and have sometimes tried to frighten peasants who need land 
to farm. Eight farm workers were killed during a protest at El Corozo 
farm in January 2005 but police did nothing. The families of the farm 
workers that were murdered were too scared to appear in court because 
they had received threats. In another land rights case, Romeo is 
defending a group of people who claim they are the owners of the 
Colonia La Catorze farm that was illegally sold to a Panamanian 
company, even though the Guatemalan constitution doesn't allow this.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please write a short, courteous letter before February 
28, 2006, to the Guatemalan Minister of the Interior, Carlos Vielman. 
Tell him that you are worried about Margarita and Lauramara and their 
parents. Explain that the Monterrosa family is in danger because people 
who do not want attorney* Romeo to continue defending landless farmers 
has threatened the girls' lives. Thank the Minister for reading your 
letter and ask him to protect Margarita and Lauramara and their 
parents. Ask him to let you know when he arrests those who made the 
threats against the Monterrosa family.

The address for the Minister of the Interior of Guatemala is : 
[Salutation*: Estimado Ministro/ Dear Minister]


Investigate Murder of Juarez Attorney

A sample letter follows concerning the murder of Dante Almaraz.  
Background:  More than 370 women have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez, 
on the border with USA, since 1993. In more than half the cases the 
perpetrators have not been brought to justice. In several cases 
defendants allege that they were tortured into signing confessions by 
representatives of the local Public Prosecutor's Office. These 
allegations have never been effectively investigated. The federal 
authorities identified at least 130 local officials who may have been 
negligent or complicit in the failure of the original investigations. 
However, the few prosecutions mounted against these officials have 

Governor of the State of Chihuahua Jose Reyes Baeza Terrazas
Palacio de Gobierno, Primer piso, C.
Aldama No.901, Col. Centro, CP 31000

Ambassador Carlos de Icaza Gonzalez
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear Ambassador de Icaza Gonzalez

I am writing to express my deep concern regarding recent murder of 
Dante Almaraz, a well-known defense lawyer in Cuidad Juarez. He had 
represented Victor Javier Garcia Uribe, a bus driver who was reportedly 
tortured into confessing to the murder of eight women in 2001 and 
sentenced to 50 years in prison. In 2005, Dante Almaraz stated publicly 
that some people within the local Public Prosecutor's Office resented 
him carrying out his legal defense work. In the weeks before his death 
he publicly voiced his concern about his safety and said that he 
believed if anything were to happen to him that members of the local 
State Public Prosecutor's Office would be responsible.

Dante Almaraz was shot dead by unknown men while driving through the 
center of Cuidad Juarez, Chihuahua state, on January 26. A number of 
armed men blocked his way and shot him repeatedly. A passenger in the 
car, thought to be Almarez's brother, was also seriously wounded.

First, I call on your office to guarantee the safety of Victor Javier 
Garcia Uribe, Dante Almaraz' family, and all human rights defenders in 
Cuidad Juarez who may also be at risk.

I also urge you to condemn the murder of Dante Almaraz and the wounding 
of his passenger and begin a thorough, impartial and prompt 
investigation into the killing, with those responsible brought to 
justice. An investigation into possible links between representatives 
of the local Public Prosecutor's Office and the murder of Dante Almaraz 
must also be organized.

Additionally, I would like to remind your office that the UN 
Declaration on the Rights and Responsibly of Individuals, Groups and 
Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human 
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 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. I again call 
on your office to condemn this murder and to offer an adequate 
protection to the human rights defenders in Cuidad Juarez, whose lives 
may be in danger.

I am looking forward to your reply stating you commitment to these 


Investigate Murders of El Salvadoran Women

Marian Isabela Rivas Martinez and Rosa N. are two of at least 20 women 
killed in El Salvador between 2002 and 2004 in grisly circumstances. 
The dismembered body of 17-year-old Marian Isabela Rivas Martinez was 
found in San Salvador in 2002, followed five days later by the finding 
of the decapitated head of an unidentified woman, referred to as Rosa 
N. Investigations into both cases appear to have been closed without 
resolution. Amnesty International is calling on the authorities to 
bring to justice those responsible for these murders.  Sample letter 

President Elias Antonio Saca
  President of the Republic of El Salvador
  Casa Presidencial
  Alameda Dr Manuel Enrique 5500
  San Salvador

Dear President:

I wish to express my deep concern about the rape and murder of Marian 
Isabela Rivas Martinez, the murder of Rosa N., and other cases of 
killings of women and girls in your country. In 2002, the dismembered 
body of 17-year-old Marian Isabela Rivas Martinez was found in San 
Bartolo, San Salvador. Five days later, the decapitated head of an 
unidentified woman, referred to as Rosa N., was found in Libertad Park 
in San Salvador. Investigations into both cases appear to have been 
closed without resolution.

In 2003, several gang members were arrested on suspicion of involvement 
in one or both of the killings, but it appears that the charges were 
brought against the gang members on the basis of little or no evidence. 
The case collapsed in August 2004 when the accused were acquitted on 
the grounds that they had been imprisoned at the time of the killing. 
No other lines of inquiry into the cases of Rosa N. or Marian Isabela 
Rivas Martinez have apparently been explored.

It is estimated that between 2002 and the middle of 2004, at least 20 
women were killed in El Salvador in circumstances similar to those of 
the killings of Marian Isabela Rivas Martinez and Rosa N. According to 
reports received by Amnesty International, only a few of those cases 
have been properly investigated.

I respectfully urge you to thoroughly investigate the killings of 
Marian Isabela Rivas Martinez, Rosa N., and all other similar cases. I 
further call on you to ensure that those responsible for these crimes 
are brought to justice. I thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,  Your NAME and ADDRESS

copy to:
  Ambassador Rene Antonio Leon Rodriguez
  Embassy of El Salvador
  2308 California Street N.W.
  Washington, D.C. 20008