Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XV Number 4, April 2008

Thursday, April 24, 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 13, 7:30 PM. Letter writing 
meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill 
and California in Pasadena. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty! 

Sunday, May 18, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group. Vroman's 
Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., 
Pasadena.  This month we read "Banker to the 
Poor" by Muhammad Yunus.

Hi everyone,
This will be a short column this month as I have 
been very busy.  My mom had a minor heart 
attack last weekend and was briefly hospitalized 
in the San Fernando Valley.  She is home resting 
now and doing well.  Talk about the healthcare 
crisis - she was seen quickly in the ER (heart 
attack type symptoms put you on top of the triage 
nurses' list!)  but had to wait 12 hours for a bed in 
the stepdown or telemetry unit.  Thankfully, she 
has Medicare and a supplemental policy which 
should cover this.  Thank you all for your good 
wishes, thoughts, and prayers for her recovery 
and for my father.
The crisis in Tibet continues as do the protests 
against the Olympic Torch all over the world.  
Amnesty does not officially take a position on 
Tibet's independence or for or against the 
Olympic Games, but advocates for human rights 
to be respected in China and Tibet.
  For the latest information, see the Amnesty 
This just in - the Supreme Court has ruled on the 
Kentucky lethal injection case - see info in Death 
Penalty section.
Con cariľo,


Group 22 continues to work for our adopted 
Prisoner of Conscience Estifanos Seyoum. He is a 
former Eritrea government official who was 
arrested in September 2001 for peacefully 
expressing his political opinions.

May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. Pasadena's 
Congressman Adam Schiff is a founder and co-
chair of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of 
the Press. He has often expressed support for 
Reporters Without Borders. This organization 
selected imprisoned Eritrea journalist Seyoum 
Tsehaye for its 2007 Journalist of the Year 
Award. It therefore seems like an opportune time 
to ask Rep. Schiff to direct attention to the Eritrea 
prisoners of conscience if he gives a speech to 
observe World Press Freedom day as he did last 
year.  If you live in Schiff's Congressional District, 
you can send a message to him through his 
website, You can phone his 
Washington DC office at 202-225-4176 or send a 
fax to 202-225-5828. His Pasadena office is 
located at 87 N. Raymond Ave #800, Pasadena 
CA 91103, phone 626-304-2727, fax 626-304-
0572.  Remember that you can do free internet 
faxing at

Here is a sample message that you can use as a 

Dear Congressman Schiff,

I know that you are a long-time supporter of 
Reporters Without Borders. You are probably 
aware that this organization gave its 2007 
Journalist of the Year Award to imprisoned 
Eritrean journalist Seyoum Tsehaye, who was 
arrested in September 2001 during a general 
government crackdown on free speech and the 
independent press.
Do you plan to give a speech to observe World 
Press Freedom Day as you did last year on May 
3? If so, I urge you to mention Seyoum Tsehaye 
and the deplorable human rights situation in 
Amnesty International issued many statements 
concerning the 11 former government officials and 
10 journalists who have been held incom-
municado in secret prisons since their arrest in 
September 2001. Some of them reportedly died 
while in custody due to ill treatment and denial of 
medical attention. 

Thank you for your attention,
[your name and address]

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at
Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, May 18, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard
 in Pasadena

"Banker to the Poor"
By Muhammad Yunus

From the Publisher
This autobiography of the world-renowned, 
visionary economist who came up with a simple 
but revolutionary solution to end world poverty-
micro-credit-has become the classic text for a 
growing movement.
In 1983 Muhammad Yunus established Grameen, 
a bank devoted to providing the poorest of 
Bangladesh with miniscule loans. He aimed to 
help the poor by supporting the spark of personal 
initiative and enterprise by which they could lift 
themselves out of poverty forever. It was an idea 
born on a day in 1976 when he loaned $27 from 
his own pocket to forty-two people living in a 
tiny village. They were stool makers who only 
needed enough credit to purchase the raw 
materials for their trade. Yunus's loan helped 
them break the cycle of poverty and changed their 
lives forever. His solution to world poverty, 
founded on the belief that credit is a fundamental 
human right, is brilliantly simple: loan poor 
people money on terms that are suitable to them, 
teach them a few sound financial principles, and 
they will help themselves. 
Yunus's theories work. Grameen Bank has 
provided 3.8 billion dollars to 2.4 million families 
in rural Bangladesh. Today, more than 250 
institutions in nearly 100 countries operate micro-
credit programs based on the Grameen 
methodology, placing Grameen at the forefront of 
a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating 
poverty through micro-lending. 

About the Author:
Muhammad Yunus was born in 1940 in 
Chittagong, a seaport in Bangladesh. The third of 
fourteen children, five of whom died in infancy, 
he was educated at Dhaka University and was 
awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study 
economics at Vanderbilt University. In 1972 he 
became the head of the economics department at 
Chittagong University. He is the founder and 
managing director of the Grameen Bank. In 2006 
Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the 
Nobel Peace Prize for (in the words of the Nobel 
Committee) "their efforts to create economic and 
social development from below." 



Update:  On Monday, March 17, 2008, the 
Georgia Supreme Court decided 4-3 to deny a 
new trial for Troy Anthony Davis, despite 
significant concerns regarding his innocence. 
Today's stunning decision by the Georgia 
Supreme Court to let Mr. Davis' death sentence 
stand means that the state of Georgia might soon 
execute a man who may well be innocent. Please 
take action today by calling on the Georgia Board 
of Pardon and Paroles to commute the death 
sentence for Troy Anthony Davis.

Restrictions on Federal appeals have prevented 
Troy Anthony Davis from having a hearing in 
federal court on the reliability of the witness 
testimony used against him, despite the fact that 
most of the witnesses have since recanted, many 
alleging they were pressured or coerced by police. 
Troy Davis remains on Georgia death row, and 
may be scheduled for execution in the near future.
Troy Davis was sentenced to death for the 
murder of Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail at 
a Burger King in Savannah, Georgia; a murder he 
maintains he did not commit. There was no 
physical evidence against him and the weapon 
used in the crime was never found. The case 
against him consisted entirely of witness 
testimony which contained inconsistencies even at 
the time of the trial. Since then, all but two of the 
state's non-police witnesses from the trial have 
recanted or contradicted their testimony. Many of 
these witnesses have stated in sworn affidavits 
that they were pressured or coerced by police into 
testifying or signing statements against Troy 
One of the two witnesses who has not recanted 
his testimony is Sylvester "Red" Coles - the 
principle alternative suspect, according to the 
defense, against whom there is new evidence 
implicating him as the gunman. Nine individuals 
have signed affidavits implicating Sylvester 

╚ TAKE ACTION!  Send a letter to the Georgia 
Board of Pardon and Paroles

Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles
2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, SE
Suite 458, Balcony Level, East Tower
Atlanta, GA 30334 

You can also fax your message to: 404-651-8502.

Nebraska Update:
A bill to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska, 
LB 1063, was defeated in the Senate on Tuesday, 
March 25th. Thank you to all who wrote your 
representatives on this important legislation. 
Please stay tuned for future efforts to end capital 
punishment in the state.
source: Amnesty International USA website


Supreme Court Allows Lethal Injection for 

Filed at 10:24 a.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court 
upheld Kentucky's use of lethal injection 
executions Wednesday.
The justices, by a 7-2 vote, turned back a 
constitutional challenge to the procedures in place 
in Kentucky, which uses three drugs to sedate, 
paralyze and kill inmates.
''We ... agree that petitioners have not carried 
their burden of showing that the risk of pain from 
maladministration of a concededly humane lethal 
injection protocol, and the failure to adopt 
untried and untested alternatives, constitute cruel 
and unusual punishment,'' Chief Justice John 
Roberts said in an opinion that garnered only 
three votes. Four other justices, however, agreed 
with the outcome.  Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg 
and David Souter dissented.
Executions have been on hold since September, 
when the court agreed to hear the Kentucky case. 
There was no immediate indication when they 
would resume.
The argument against the three-drug protocol is 
that if the initial anesthetic does not take hold, 
the other two drugs can cause excruciating pain. 
One of those drugs, a paralytic, would render the 
prisoner unable to express his discomfort.
The case before the court came from Kentucky, 
where two death row inmates did not ask to be 
spared execution or death by injection. Instead, 
they wanted the court to order a switch to a 
single drug, a barbiturate, that causes no pain and 
can be given in a large enough dose to cause 
At the very least, they said, the state should be 
required to impose tighter controls on the three-
drug process to ensure that the anesthetic is given 
Kentucky has had only one execution by lethal 
injection and it did not present any obvious 
problems, both sides in the case agreed.
But executions elsewhere, in Florida and Ohio, 
took much longer than usual, with strong 
indications that the prisoners suffered severe pain 
in the process. Workers had trouble inserting the 
IV lines that are used to deliver the drugs.

March, 28 2008

Amnesty International today welcomed the 
release of human rights activists Daniel Bekele 
and Netsanet Demissie, who had been detained 
in Ethiopia since November 2005, but said the 
two prisoners of conscience should be 
compensated for the time they spent in prison.
The two men were released today, having 
received a presidential pardon after they signed a 
letter "acknowledging mistakes" committed in 
relation to the 2005 elections. It is not yet clear if 
the pardon is unconditional.
"These two men did not commit any acts for 
which they need to seek pardon," said Erwin van 
der Borght, Director of Amnesty International's 
Africa Programme.
"They were prisoners of conscience, detained and 
convicted solely for their peaceful work as human 
rights defenders. They should have their 
convictions unconditionally pardoned, and 
should receive compensation for the period they 
were unfairly imprisoned."
Daniel Bekele is the policy manager of ActionAid 
in Ethiopia. Netsanet Demissie is the founder and 
director of the Organization for Social Justice in 
Ethiopia. Both are prominent human rights 
Both men chose to enter a defence, unlike other 
co-accused, during a trial that ran for over two 
years. In December 2007, they were convicted by 
a majority verdict of the Ethiopian Federal High 
Court of provoking and preparing "outrages 
against the Constitution" and were sentenced to 
30 months imprisonment.
According to Amnesty International, the 
prosecution failed to present evidence that either 
Daniel Bekele or Netsanet Demissie incited 
violence and the judges convicted them on the 
basis of the testimonies of two witnesses whose 
credibility was doubtful and strongly contested 
by the defence. The Ethiopian government barred 
representatives from Amnesty International from 
observing the trial in July 2007.

Eritrea         9
Death Penalty   4
Other UAs      24
Total:         37
To add your letters to the total contact

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code 5-62
Pasadena, CA 91125