Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIV Number 1, January 2006


Thursday, January 26, 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, February 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 for newcomers to 
get acquainted with Amnesty!

Sunday, February 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book 
Discussion Group. Vroman's Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., 
Pasadena.  This month we read Lorraine Adams' novel about Algerian 
immigrants, Harbor (More below.)

Monday, February 20. Vigils and Demonstrations on the eve of the 
scheduled execution of Michael Morales.  See for a 
list of events.

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.


Hi everyone!  Hope you had a good and restful holiday. Now it's a new 
year. Hope your new year's resolutions include becoming more involved 
with Amnesty. Mine includes spending more time with family (including 
cat!) as well as making time for personally meaningful activities such 
as amnesty activism, reading and art classes.

Speaking of reading, has everyone checked out Martha's "book blog", at  It is really neat, with all 
kinds of fun links to topics related to the books we are reading. You 
can purchase the books via a link to on the site, but please 
remember to support Vromans Bookstore, one of the few remaining 
independent bookstores in the Los Angeles area, for allowing us to use 
the store to hold our meetings! In December, we read Persepolis (# 1), 
a "graphic novel" about a young woman in Iran during the Islamic 
revolution and Iran-Iraq war.  I received Persepolis 2 for Christmas, 
and am currently reading it. It is also a graphic novel. I haven't 
finished it yet. This book is the continuation of the story of Marjane 
leaving Iran to live in Austria with relatives at the age of 14. The 
drawings are very expressive.

December 11th, Group 22 held a letter-writing marathon at Cafe' Culture 
in Altadena for Human Rights Day. A total of 123 letters and cards were 
written and the ambience was very relaxing in the cafe'. Their food is 
very good too! We hope to hold more letter writing events at Cafe' 
Culture or other venues in the future.
Group 22 members attended 2 vigils at All Saints Church in Pasadena in 
December and January as California executed 2 death row inmates. 
Unfortunately, the proposed moratorium on executions in California did 
not make it through the State Assembly according to today's LA Times 
(1-20-06) and we also face another execution on February 21--see inside 
for details.

Finally, as we approach Bush's State of the Union speech, tell the 
President how you feel about torture by signing this Amnesty online 
petition at:  http://www.tellthe
Hope to see you in 2006.


California Execution set for February 21

California death row inmate Michael Morales faces execution on February 
21. Please send letters and emails requesting clemency for him 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

Some background from Death Penalty Focus follows which you can use for 
your letters:
Michael Morales, 45, grew up in San Joaquin County. Morales is a 4th 
generation American, devoutly religious, and the father of three adult 
children. He was sentenced to death for the 1981 rape and murder of 
17-year old Terri Winchell. Morales was 21 years-old at the time of the 
crime. Morales's co-defendant, Ricky Ortega, who is also his cousin, 
orchestrated the murder; yet Ortega received a sentence a life without 
the possibility of parole. Michael Morales's request for relief was 
denied by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2005. The U.S. 
Supreme Court rejected his appeal on Oct. 11, 2005.

This case depends on the testimony of an unreliable informant witness. 
According to an article published in the Daily Journal on March 29, 
2005: "The Morales case prominently featured the testimony of a 
jailhouse informant who claimed that Morales had confessed to him. This 
purported confession was the only evidence to support the special 
circumstance; it was crucial to securing Morales' death sentence. It 
was later discovered that, prior to trial, Morales' prosecutor entered 
into a secret agreement with
jailhouse informant Bruce Samuelson. In exchange for Samuelson's 
testimony, the prosecutor agreed to dismiss four of six felony charges 
pending against Samuelson in another case. The prosecutor also secured 
court approval of a minimal county jail sentence for Samuelson, and 
then hid this deal from Morales's attorney, the judge and the jury. 
Even more disturbing, the prosecutor promised Samuelson these benefits 
before Morales allegedly confessed to him. When asked on the stand 
whether he had received anything in return for his testimony, Samuelson 
falsely stated that the prosecutor would be making only a 
"recommendation" on his behalf. The prosecutor let this false testimony 
stand in front of the jury, without correction or clarification." "The 
circumstances surrounding Morales' so-called confession to Samuelson 
are questionable at best. Samuelson was never housed in the same jail 
cell with Morales. Given the physical layout of the jail, in order for 
Morales to confess to Samuelson, other inmates would have heard the 
conversation. Yet no other inmates ever corroborated Samuelson's story. 
Inmates also knew that guards monitored all of their conversations with 
an intercom system. In 1993, the California Attorney General's Office 
confronted Samuelson with these facts. Samuelson stated that he and 
Morales spoke together in Spanish so others would not listen in. 
Unbeknownst to Samuelson, however, Morales does not speak Spanish."
   "An FBI expert who examined Samuelson's polygraph test years later 
concluded that the test unequivocally established that Samuelson was 
lying when he said Morales confessed. But the polygraph report that the 
prosecutor gave Morales' attorneys at the time of the trial claimed 
that Samuelson was telling the truth."
Race is a factor in this case. The first state-wide study on the impact 
of race and place on death sentencing in California was just released 
showing that the race and ethnicity of the victim and the location of 
the are key factors in determining who will be sentenced to death. The 
study found that those who murder whites are four times more likely to 
receive a death sentence than those who murder Latinos and three times 
more likely to receive a death sentence than those who murder 
African-Americans. The victim in this case, Terri Winchell, is white. 
In addition, the study finds that those convicted in rural, 
predominately white counties like Ventura, where this crimes was tried, 
are up to three times more likely to be sentenced to death as those 
convicted of similar crimes in diverse, urban communities. In addition, 
the California Attorney General does not dispute that in this case, 
during the 1980s, the San Joaquin District Attorney's Office engaged in 
discriminatory charging practices, seeking the death penalty in white 
victim cases 20 times more often than in Latino victim cases. Further, 
the Office was 57 times more likely to seek a death sentence for a 
white female victim. Finally, one California Supreme Court justice 
concluded that Morales's death sentence should be reversed based on 
evidence that Ventura County systematically excluded Latinos from 
serving on juries.
Morales had an ineffective, poorly qualified lawyer. This case was 
tried long before standards were put in place for defense counsel. 
Morales's attorney was not sufficiently trained to handle a death 
penalty case.
Other serious mistakes were made. Several legal mistakes were made in 
this case. For example, the judge failed to give any cautionary 
instructions about the unreliability of testimony from informant 
How can we execute Morales 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. 
The Justice Commission must report its recommendations to the Governor 
and Legislature by Dec. 31, 2007. No one should be executed while the 
Justice Commission is conducting this in-depth study.
The Co-defendant. It has never been clear whether Michael Morales or 
his co-defendant, Ricky Ortega, played a greater role in causing the 
death of Terri Winchell. What we do know is: a) that Morales was 
sentenced to death and Ortega was sentenced to life without parole; and 
b) that more than $80,000 was spent during the penalty phase to defend 
Ortega, while next to nothing was spent on the penalty phase of 
Morales's trial.

Pass Resolution to Review Ken Saro-Wiwa case

Use this sample letter to urge Senators Boxer and Feinstein to support  
a resolution urging the Nigerian government to review the Ken Saro-Wiwa 

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

Dear Senator _____

I urge you to cosponsor Senate Resolution 303, introduced by Senators 
Leahy, Kennedy, Feingold, Obama, Dodd and Durbin. The resolution calls 
on the Nigerian government to conduct a thorough judicial review of the 
Ken Saro-Wiwa case. In addition, it calls upon the State Department to 
ensure that oil companies operating in the Niger Delta comply, at a 
minimum, with the Voluntary Principles for Security and Human Rights, 
and calls upon the Nigerian government to ensure that all members of 
the security forces receive training in international standards for the 
use of force and firearms.

Senate Resolution 303 offers a small but meaningful step forward in 
addressing these issues. A completed review of the Saro-Wiwa case could 
help bring closure to the survivors of the former Abacha regime's 
brutality. In addition, passage of this resolution will signal that the 
United States respects and supports the struggles of the Niger Delta 
people and expects the Nigerian government to reform its policies and 
practices in those communities.

I urge you to actively support Senate Resolution 303 and recognize the 
contribution that it can make to the human rights of the Ogoni and 
other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta.

Sincerely, Your NAME and ADDRESS

Death Penalty 	13
Urgent Actions	6
Total:	19
To add your letters to the total contact

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena
Sunday, February 19, 6:30 PM

Harbor by Lorraine Adams

A powerful first novel that engages the tumultuous events of today: at 
once an intimate portrait of a group of young Arab Muslims living in 
the United States, and the story of one man's journey into--and out 
We first meet Aziz Arkoun as a 24-year-old stowaway--frozen, hungry, his 
perceptions jammed by a language he can't understand or speak. After 52 
days in the hold of a tanker from Algeria, he jumps into the icy waters 
of Boston harbor and swims to shore. Seemingly rescued from isolation 
by Algerians he knew as a child, he instead finds himself in a world of 
disillusionment, duplicity, and stolen identities, living a raw comedy 
of daily survival not unlike what he fled back home.

As the story of Aziz and his friends unfolds--moving from the 
hardscrabble neighborhoods of East Boston and Brooklyn to a North 
African army camp--Harbor makes vivid the ambiguities of these men's 
past and present lives: burying a murdered girl in the Sahara; reading 
medieval Persian poetry on a bus, passing for Mexican. But when Aziz 
begins to suspect that he and his friends are under surveillance, all 
assumptions--his and ours--dissolve in an urgent, mesmerizing complexity. 
And as Harbor races to its explosive conclusion, it compels us to 
question the questions it raises: Who are the terrorists? Can we 
recognize them?

Reform Human Rights Council

Urge the US to take  a leadership role in the creation of the new UN 
Human Rights Council.  Sample letter follows:

The President
The White House
Washington, DC 20500-0003

Mr. President,

A strong and effective Human Rights Council is essential for the future 
protection of human rights and for the success of efforts to reform the 
United Nations. The engagement and leadership of the United States are 
crucial at this final stage of the negotiations if the UN is to create 
a strong and effective Human Rights Council. We fully share the views 
expressed by your representative at the United Nations, John Bolton, to 
the General Assembly that merely recreating the UN Commission on Human 
Rights under a different name would be entirely unsupportable. We are 
also encouraged by the emphasis your representative has placed on the 
need for the United States to show flexibility in the negotiations to 
create the Council, as will be required in the coming weeks.

Historically, the United States has been a leader in setting the agenda 
for human rights work in the United Nations. Immediately after the 
Second World War, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in the 
creation of the Commission on Human Rights and in the drafting of the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Sixty years later, you and the 
United States government have the rare opportunity, once more, to shape 
the UN's principal human rights body. We urge you to maintain the rich 
human rights tradition of the United States in the process of the 
Council's creation.

To be effective the Human Rights Council must protect all human rights 
in all countries. No country has a claim to membership. The Council's 
membership will be improved if all members are required to be elected 
through genuine contested elections which exclude regions determining 
Council membership in disregard of a country's human right record, As 
your representative indicated, the Council must meet frequently and 
regularly to deal more effectively with human rights situations in 
countries, including unfolding crises. It is crucial that the Council 
retain the current level of NGO participation as well as the system of 
independent human rights experts known as the Special Procedures. We 
urge the US government to work to ensure that these essential elements 
become part of a Human Rights Council.

We also urge you to use the influence of the United States at the 
highest level to dissuade countries that wish simply to recreate the 
Commission on Human Rights under a different name or even less, and 
instead encourage them to work for a strong and effective UN Human 
Rights Council that includes the above elements. Amnesty International 
is encouraged by your government's efforts to improve human rights in 
countries such as North Korea and Burma. We hope that the same 
determination and effectiveness can now be brought to bear on creating 
a new human rights institution that will inspire confidence in the 
United States and throughout the world and that will have a 
longstanding impact on the protection of human rights everywhere.

Mr. President, we urge you not to miss this historic opportunity and to 
demonstrate, with you representative in New York, the leadership of the 
United States in the creation of a strong and effective Human Rights 
Council. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely, Your NAME and ADDRESS

Prevent Forcible Return of Refugees

The Egyptian authorities announced on 4 January that they will be 
delaying the deportation of up to 650 Sudanese nationals for 72 hours 
(up to the morning of 8 January), and have allowed the United Nations 
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) access to them for this period. 
The UNHCR is visiting the three detention centers where they are held 
in order to identify those who may be refugees or asylum-seekers and 
therefore, in accordance with international law, should not be 

On 3 January, the Egyptian authorities had announced that they intended 
to forcibly return up to 650 Sudanese nationals, who have been 
detained, to Sudan on 5 January. The group is believed to include 
asylum-seekers and refugees recognized by the United Nations High 
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) who were not carrying their residency 
documents when they were arrested. Some would be at risk of torture if 
returned to Sudan.

There are serious concerns that 72 hours may not be long enough for the 
UNHCR to identify all those who are refugees or asylum-seekers. No one 
should be deported except as a result of a decision reached in 
accordance with law, with access to appeal procedures. It is feared 
that the Egyptian authorities may simply expel the entire group of 
Sudanese nationals at the end of the 72 hour period.

Egypt is a state party to the Convention Against Torture and other 
international agreements which expressly prohibit the forcible return 
of anyone to a country where they would be at risk of torture or 
ill-treatment. An Egyptian government spokesperson said on 3 January 
that the individuals would be sent back because they had "broken the 
law of the host country." However, under customary international law 
and international human rights law, the prohibition on forcibly 
returning people to countries where they would be at risk of serious 
human rights violations is absolute in all cases, regardless of whether 
the people in question have broken any laws. The use of torture against 
certain individuals and groups by the Sudanese authorities is widely 
documented by Amnesty International. Deporting the entire group, 
without giving each member of the group access to adequate procedural 
guarantees, would violate Article 13 of the International Covenant on 
Civil and Political Rights, which states that non-citizens may be 
expelled "only in pursuance of a decision reached in accordance with 

BACKGROUND. Tens of thousands of Sudanese nationals have sought asylum 
in Egypt since the late 1990s, many of them fleeing the civil war in 
the south of the country and the conflict in Darfur, in the east. The 
UNHCR has recognized a large number of them as refugees, and large 
numbers have been resettled in other countries. At the beginning of 
2005, there were over 14,000 Sudanese in Egypt whom the UNHCR had 
recognized as refugees, and thousands more whose asylum applications 
had been rejected.
The 650 are part of a group of over 2,500 Sudanese nationals who had 
been involved in a peaceful protest in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, 
since 29 September 2005. Their demands included improvements to their 
work and educational opportunities, protection from forcible return to 
Sudan, and resettlement in third countries. The police broke up the 
protest violently on 30 December, in an action that left at least 27 
protesters dead and dozens of protestors and police injured.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals:

- welcoming the Egyptian authorities' decision to delay the deportation 
of the 650 Sudanese nationals, but expressing concern that the 72-hour 
period they have allowed may not be long enough for the UNHCR to 
identify all those who may be entitled to refugee status, and calling 
on the authorities to give the UNHCR as much time as it needs to carry 
out its assessment;

- calling on the Egyptian authorities to immediately release all those 
identified by the UNHCR as refugees or asylum-seekers, or otherwise of 
concern to the UNHCR, unless charged with a recognizably criminal 

- calling on the authorities to ensure that those Sudanese nationals 
not identified as refugees or asylum-seekers, or otherwise of concern 
to the UNHCR, are only expelled on the basis of a decision reached in 
accordance with law, in compliance with Egypt's obligations under 
Article 13 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

H.E. Muhammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abedine Palace, Cairo, EGYPT
General Habib Ibrahim El Adly
Minister of the Interior, Ministry of the Interior
Al-Sheikh Rihan Street, Bab al-Louk, Cairo, EGYPT

Ambassador M. Nabil Fahmy
Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt
3521 International Ct NW
Washington DC 20008-2023

Protect Dam Protestors in Guerrero

On 16 December, at least eight people were injured during clashes 
between police and inhabitants of the town of Dos Arroyos in the 
municipality of Acapulco, Guerrero State, who are opposing plans to 
flood a large area of farmland in order to construct a hydroelectric 
dam. The authorities have reportedly failed to consult local 
communities fairly and transparently about the plans, leading to an 
atmosphere of increasing tension and violence in the area. It is feared 
that the lives of people in these communities may be at risk.
The clashes occurred after the state and federal authorities convened a 
meeting at short notice in the neighboring town of Tierra Colorado, at 
which community representatives voted on the plans to construct the "La 
Parota" dam. Some 300 police officers reportedly attempted to stop 
inhabitants of Dos Arroyos opposed to the dam from attending the 
meeting by blocking the roads leading out of the town. According to 
reports, those opposing the dam barricaded a bridge in the path of the 
police in order to stop them entering the town. The community members 
were reportedly carrying machetes and catapults. When police, also 
carrying machetes, attempted to cross the barricade, the inhabitants 
allegedly threw stones at them. The police reportedly responded by 
throwing stones and using tear gas. At least eight people were injured, 
including Marco Antonio Suastegui, the leader of the Consejo de 
Ejidatarios y Comuneros Opositores a la Parota (CECOP), a group opposed 
to the construction of the dam. Four community members were detained as 
a result of the clashes, and charged with causing harm, damage and 
resistance to the authorities. They were released on bail the following 

According to reports, the authorities had provided buses to take those 
who approve of the dam's construction from Dos Arroyos to the meeting 
in Tierra Colorado, in order to secure a favorable vote. The meeting 
lasted for no more than 15 minutes and resulted in a unanimous vote in 
favor of the construction of the dam. However, according to the CECOP 
and other human rights organizations, this vote did not represent the 
views of all the people affected. The CECOP claims that 15 similar 
meetings with local community representatives from the area which would 
be affected by the dam have deliberately excluded those opposed to the 
dam, and that others attending the meetings have been misled, resulting 
in an unfair process lacking transparency. It is feared that this may 
increase resentment among communities in the area, and thus the two 
remaining consultation meetings, scheduled to take place in December, 
could be flashpoints for further violence.

In September 2005, Tomas Cruz Zamora, who lived in the hamlet  of 
Huamuchitos, was killed by someone from the same community. He had 
reportedly expressed his opposition to the  dam. In November, Cristino 
Cruz Hernandez, who was allegedly in  favor of the dam, was also 
killed. In 2004, Marco Antonio Suastegui was threatened and intimidated 
after campaigning against the dam.

BACKGROUND.  The CECOP and other human rights organizations claim that 
the  construction of La Parota dam could lead to the flooding of some 
140,000 square kilometers of farmland, affecting 17,000 inhabitants, 
and threatening the livelihood of 20 farming communities. The project 
has divided local communities, with some accepting compensation for the 
destruction of their land, and others strongly opposed.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals:

- calling on the authorities to take measures to ensure the safety of 
members of the communities affected by the construction of the dam 
according to their wishes;

- expressing concern at the apparent lack of effective steps carried 
out by the authorities to prevent the climate of violence from 
increasing surrounding the construction of the dam, and urging them to 
ensure the two remaining consultation meetings are conducted 
peacefully, fairly and transparently;

- calling on the authorities to ensure that all criminal complaints 
against the four people released on bail are investigated according to 
the law and adhere to international fair trial standards;

- calling on the authorities to ensure that a genuine consultation is 
carried out, including all who are affected by the construction of the 

State Governor:
Lic. Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo
Gobernador Electo del Estado de Guerrero.
Horacio Nelson numero 15 Fraccionamiento Costa Azul
C.P. 39850, Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

Minister of the Interior:
Lic. Carlos Abascal Carranza
Secretario de Gobernacion
Secretaria de Gobernacion
Bucareli 99, 1er. piso, Col. Juarez
Delegacion Cuauhtemoc, Mexico D.F., C.P.06600, Mexico

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

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