Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News

Volume XV Number 11, November/December 2007






Thursday, November 29, 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.


Saturday, December 15, 8 AM to 2 PM.

Letter writing marathon at Cafe Culture, 1359

N. Altadena Drive in Pasadena. 626-398-8654.

Drop by anytime!


Sunday, December 16, 6:30 PM. Rights

Readers Human Rights Book Discussion Group.

Note:  meeting is at Lucas Kamp's home, 187 S.

Catalina Ave. Unit 2 in Pasadena (626-795-

1785), not Vromans. Featured book is "From

Newbury with Love: Letters of Friendship

across the Iron Curtain", by Marina Aidova and

Anna Horsbrugh-Porter. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2008, 7:30 PM.  Letter

writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of

Hill and California in Pasadena.


Sunday, January 20, 2008, 6:30 PM. Rights

Readers Human Rights Book Discussion Group

at Vromans bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd. in

Pasadena. 626-449-5320. We will discuss

"Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See.






Hi everyone,


A great party was held to say goodbye to Martha

in early October at Paula's beautiful home in east

Pasadena. Friends from All Saints Church and

Amnesty joined to toast Martha's achievements

and to wish her well in her new journey of life as

she returns to Wisconsin to assist her family. A

good time was had by all! Thanks to all who

assisted with the party.

It seems strange with Martha gone, but we will

carry on as best we can.  Our muse will be in

touch with us via our blog

( and

email. She will help us select books for our

reading group from afar!

 We each have our area of interest in the group,

and different talents.  Working together we can

make a beautiful whole.  For example, Stevie is

very knowledgeable on the death penalty and

other criminal justice issues, Paula has been to

Africa many times for her public health work in

the field of HIV-AIDS, Christina is interested in

women's issues, and Joyce is our case-work

expert. She and Paula are helping us focus on our

POCs from Eritrea. Wen and Lucas have been

involved in Chinese human rights issues, including

the controversy over the Chinese float in the

upcoming Rose Parade.  I hope I haven't left

anyone out!  From time to time, I hope to have the

different people in our group write pieces, submit

actions, etc. for this newsletter on their area of


What is your passion? Come join us at one of our



Con carino,









Three members of Group 22 (Lucas, Christina and

Joyce) attended the AIUSA Western Regional

Conference in San Francisco November 9-11.

Hard-working volunteer Christina deserves

special thanks for staffing early-morning

registration and for serving as rapporteur for

Resolutions Working Party and also the Voting



The keynote speaker on Saturday was Naomi

Roht-Arriaza, professor of law and author of the

book "The Pinochet Effect". She spoke about the

efforts of Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberta Menchu

to bring to justice the Guatemala ex-generals who

were responsible for up to 200,000 deaths during

the bitter civil conflict of 1979-1984. As he

introduced Naomi, MC Magdeleno Rose-Avila

recalled that he was in Guatemala City at the

time of the 1980 Spanish Embassy tragedy and

saw the burned bodies of the protesters,

motivating him to join AI and work for human

rights. Naomi showed a clip from the new AIUSA

film "Justice Without Borders", which covers the

Guatemala case as well as the work of the ICC

and the recent extradition of ex-president

Fujimori to Peru. I have a copy of this 36-minute

DVD for Group 22 to show or loan.


Lucas pursued the China issues of concern to

Group 22, attending workshops on the Beijing

Olympics Campaign and the case of Shi Tao. He

also had a private meeting with members of the

AIUSA China Coordination Group to discuss

policy matters. Christina attended workshops on

providing quick answers about Amnesty to the

media and creating effective "sound bytes".


"What's a POC?" At the AIUSA Burning Issues

workshop that Christina and I attended, an

audience member commented that he was quite

upset by this question, which had come up in a

conversation at the conference.  "What's a

POC?" immediately echoed several young people

at the workshop. For most of us, POC was

probably the first acronym we learned when we

went to a letter-writing or local group meeting.

Nowadays the term Prisoner of Conscience has

been replaced by the more inclusive but awfully

bland Individual at Risk.  Board member Jeff

Bachman assured us that under whatever name

POCs would remain one of the National

Priorities. However, AI's operations could look

quite different in the future; for instance, student

Board member Aniket said that five years from

now he couldn't imagine himself driving 25

minutes to attend a local group meeting.  O brave

new Facebook world!


The tension between tradition and innovation

that has marked AI in recent years was evident in

the Resolutions voting plenary on Sunday

morning. One resolution required that proposed

changes concerning nomination and resolution

processes be presented by the Board to the entire

membership via regional conference resolutions.

Yet the resolution process itself seemed in need of

change, as evidenced by the difficulty of getting a

voting quorum of 40 out of a total attendance of

nearly 500.  Board member Jeff was kept very

busy jumping up to answer questions about

current and proposed operation of the Board and

staff which are apparently in the throes of a

major reorganization. I felt that I should really

start paying much more attention to the Members

section on the AIUSA website in order to learn

what's going on.


The conference concluded with a speech by

Director Larry Cox. He said that Regional

Conferences held in California always seemed to

have the word "Revolution" in their titles, and

indeed many revolutionary AIUSA ideas had

originated in California.









Human Rights Book Discussion Group

 Keep up with Rights Readers at


Next Rights Readers meeting:

Sunday, December 16, 6:30 PM

Lucas Kamp's home in Pasadena

(see Upcoming Events section)


"From Newbury with Love: Letters of Friendship

across the Iron Curtain"

by Marina Aidova and Anna Horsbrugh-Porter.


 In 1971 a retired English bookseller joined an

Amnesty International campaign to write letters

to children of political prisoners. He chose seven-

year-old Marina Aidova because her birthday

was one day before his, and he had always loved

Russia and its literature. His postcard was

signed, "With love from Newbury, Berks,

England." Marina, whose father was in one of the

harshest Soviet prison camps, wrote back: "I am a

first class schoolgirl. I learn ballet and study

English. And what are you?"

So began a correspondence that changed their

lives. For the next fifteen years they exchanged

letters, telegrams, magazines, and books . . . while

a profound affection grew. Marina and her

mother drew great strength from the exchange-it

was a lifeline to another, more hopeful world.

Through Harold's encouragement, Marina was

inspired to study English at university, and

eventually went on to work as an English


Published in association with Amnesty

International, the families' correspondence-along

with over thirty photos they exchanged-is

collected here, making for a moving look at the

powerful influence one family can have on

another in need, halfway around the world.







09 November 2007 UA 301/07

Fear of torture or ill treatment/illegal detention



Ayub Qureshi (m)]

Ghulum Farid Awan (m)] politicians

Hasil Bizenjo (m)]

Yusuf Mastikhan (m), trade union leader

Liaquat Ali Sahi (m)


Three politicians and a trade union leader are

among those arrested on charges of sedition and

rioting, after making speeches against the

imposition of emergency rule by General

Musharraf. The group has been remanded in

police custody in Karachi until 19 November, and

are at risk of torture or ill treatment. In the

context of the state of emergency, the charges

against the men appear to be politically

motivated in an effort to suppress their right to

freedom of expression, association and peaceful


The detainees are Hasil Bizenjo, a Baluch

nationalist leader and former parliamentarian;

Ayub Qureshi, provincial chief of the Baluch

National Party; Yusuf Mastikhan, Vice President

of the National Workers Party and trade union

leader; and Liaquat Ali Sahi. The detainees have

been active in campaigns to assert the interests

and protect the rights of the people of

Baluchistan province. Another political activist,

Ghulum Farid Awan, is also feared to have been

arrested on charges of sedition.

The men were arrested on 6 November in Karachi,

after participating in a civil society meeting at the

Karachi Press club to protest against the

imposition of emergency rule. They were

presented before a magistrate court on 8

November and were remanded in judicial custody

until 19 November.



Acting in his capacity as army chief of staff, on 3

November General Musharraf suspended the bulk

of the Constitution, including the rights not to be

arbitrarily deprived of life and to be guaranteed a

fair trial. He assumed powers to amend the

Constitution without any parliamentary

procedure and proclaimed a Provisional

Constitutional Order (PCO). This order prohibits

any court issuing an order against the President,

Prime Minister or any person exercising powers

under their authority. 

The PCO and the new oath of office for the

superior judiciary effectively rendered the

position of existing judges invalid. The majority

of the Supreme Court and Higher Court judges

declined to take the new oath, resulting in their

removal from service. Many of them are now

under house arrest. Since the imposition of

emergency, police and law enforcement agencies

have arrested thousands of lawyers, political

activists and human rights defenders. On

Monday 5 November, more than 300 lawyers

were arrested in Lahore and have been charged

under Pakistan's anti-terrorism laws. They have

since been detained in city jails across the

country. There have been mass arrests, into the

thousands, of political opponents across the

country. Independent TV and Radio news

channels have been prevented from broadcasting

within the country since Saturday. New laws

restricting freedom of print and electronic media

were issued, breach of which attracts three to four

years imprisonment and heavy fines. Two daily

newspapers have been issued with notices to

refrain from publishing materials which violate

the new press laws.



appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:

 -- urging the authorities to ensure that none of the

detainees are tortured or otherwise ill-treated;

 -- urging the authorities to ensure that the

detainees have access to lawyers of their own


 -- expressing concern that the charges appear to

have been leveled for political reasons and aimed

to suppress their rights to freedom of expression,

association and peaceful assembly, and

accordingly, that they are prisoners of conscience

whom the authorities should release;

 -- calling on the authorities to protect and uphold

the constitutional human rights guarantees,

including safeguards on life and liberty.



President Pervez Musharaff

Pakistan Secretariat, Islamabad, Pakistan

Fax: 011 92 51 9221422

E-mail: via website:


Salutation: Dear President Musharaff


Mr. Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao

Minister for the Interior

Ministry for the Interior

Room 404, 4th Floor, Block R, Federal Secretariat

Islamabad, Pakistan

Fax: 011 92 51 9202624


Salutation: Dear Minister


Mr. Zahid Hamid

Minister of Law, Justice and Human Rights

Room 305, S-Block, Pakistan Secretariat

Islamabad, Pakistan

Fax: 011 92 51 9202628

011 92 51 9201631


Salutation: Dear Minister


Dr. Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan

Governor Sindh

Governor House

Karachi, Pakistan

Fax: 011 92 21 920 1218 / 1226


Salutation: Dear Governor



Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani

Embassy of Pakistan

3517 International Ct., NW

Washington DC 20008

Fax: 1 202 686 1544




Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if

sending appeals after 19 December 2007.







Urgent Actions 19

Total:    19

To add your letters to the total contact








"December 10th is International Human Rights Day.

To mark this day, join thousands of people across the

United States and all around the world as they

participate in Amnesty International's Global Write-

A-Thon - Amnesty's largest and most renowned letter

writing event."


If you won't be able to attend Group 22's letter-

writing marathon on Dec 15, you might visit

AIUSA's link to the Global Write-a-thon at

and participate as an individual. You can join the

list of those who have pledged to write letters and

help AIUSA attain its goal of 70,000 letters.


Two of the 15 actions listed on the above page are

cases that Group 22 has worked on:  Falun Gong

practitioner Bu Dongwei and Internet journalist

Shi Tao.


Even if you do plan to come to the Group 22

event, you might want to visit the above page in

order to check out the three inspiring video clips.



"How To Get Involved:


Everyone can participate. It's easy! Follow the 5 simple

steps below:


   1. Register for the write-a-thon as an individual or as

a group. Watch as your pledges help light up the

Amnesty candle.

   2. Spread the word! Encourage your friends and

family to get involved.

   3. Check out the write-a-thon resources online:

You'll find everything you need to participate on this

site including case sheets, sample letters, a checklist for

how to plan an event, and promotional materials. Just

go to our Actions and Resources pages to find all you

need. For hard copies, please email us at

   4. Write and mail lots of letters on Dec. 7-10.

   5. Report back: Let us know how many letters were



Save the Date. Save A Life.





Directions to Caltech:

From the 210 exit on Lake Avenue, head south, turn left on Del Mar

From the 110 continue on Arroyo Parkway north, turn right on California

Street parking is generally available.



Amnesty International Group 22

The Caltech Y

Mail Code 5-62

Pasadena, CA 91125