Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XV Number 2, February 2008


UPCOMING EVENTS
Thursday, February 28, 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, March 11, 7:30 PM.  Letter writing 
meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill 
and California in Pasadena.
Sunday, March 16, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group at 
Vromans Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd. in 
Pasadena. 626-449-5320. The featured book is 
"Unbowed:  A Memoir", by Wangari Maathai.

COORDINATOR'S CORNER

Hi everyone,

In the newsletter this month, we are focusing on 
the death penalty, having neglected this issue 
lately! There are 2 actions in the newsletter re the 
death penalty.. These actions were submitted by 
Stevi, our Death Penalty person.

There is also information about sexual violence 
against Native American women.  "Maze of 
Injustice", Amnesty's report on sexual violence 
against Native American women in the USA is 
available on the AIUSA website at:  
http://amnestyusa.org/women/maze/report.pdf.

Group 22 members participated in the Doo Dah 
parade, (now moved to January instead of the 
traditional Sunday before Thanksgiving), in 
grand style with the portable waterboarding 
express!  A flatbed truck outfitted with an old 
bathtub, "Surfin' USA" blaring from the 
speakers, 2 ominous looking plain-clothes CIA 
types combing the crowd for "volunteers", and a 
lot of fun!  Photos can be seen on Group 22's 
website at http://www.its.caltech.edu/-
aigp22/.  This was our best entry so far in the 
years we have been in the parade and everyone 
had a lot of fun! (Not that we don't take torture 
seriously…don't get the wrong idea.) Thanks to 
all who helped out and participated, especially 
to those wild and crazy guys Robert and Dan 
(Marie-Helene's husband and friend!!)

Group 22's friend, Stop Genocide Now activist 
Gabriel Stauring, was trapped in a hotel in Chad 
while visiting Darfurian refugee camps in Chad's 
capital in late January.  Paula received an email 
from him regarding the situation.  It was a tense 
few days before Stauring and co-workers were 
able to be evacuated to a nearby military base, 
then flown out of the country.  To read Gabriel's 
blog, go to http://www.stopgenocidenow.org.  

Con CariĖo,

Kathy


RIGHTS READERS
Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at 
http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com
Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, March 16, 6:30 PM
Vromans Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd.
In Pasadena
(See Upcoming Events section)
 


"Unbowed" by Wangari Maathai

In Unbowed, Nobel Prize winner Wangari 
Maathai recounts her extraordinary journey from 
her childhood in rural Kenya to the world stage. 
When Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement 
in 1977, she began a vital poor people's 
environmental movement, focused on the 
empowerment of women, that soon spread 
across Africa. Persevering through run-ins with 
the Kenyan government and personal losses, and 
jailed and beaten on numerous occasions, 
Maathai continued to fight tirelessly to save 
Kenya's forests and to restore democracy to her 
beloved country. Infused with her unique 
luminosity of spirit, Wangari Maathai's 
remarkable story of courage, faith, and the power 
of persistence is destined to inspire generations to 
come. 

About the Author
Wangari Muta Maathai was born in Nyeri, 
Kenya, in 1940. She is the founder of the Green 
Belt Movement, which, through networks of rural 
women, has planted over 30 million trees across 
Kenya since 1977. In 2002, she was elected to 
Kenya's Parliament in the first free elections in a 
generation, and in 2003, she was appointed 
Deputy Minister for the Environment and 
Natural Resources. The Nobel Peace Prize 
laureate of 2004, she has three grown children 
and lives and works in Nairob.


STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

 


 "MAZE OF INJUSTICE: THE FAILURE TO 
PROTECT INDIGENOUS WOMEN FROM 
SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE USA"
A summary of Amnesty International's findings
Sexual violence against Indigenous women in the 
USA is widespread -- and especially brutal. 
According to US government statistics, Native 
American and Alaska Native women are more 
than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually 
assaulted than other women in the USA. Some 
Indigenous women interviewed by Amnesty 
International said they didn't know anyone in 
their community who had not experienced sexual 
violence. Though rape is always an act of 
violence, there is evidence that Indigenous 
women are more likely than other women to 
suffer additional violence at the hands of their 
attackers. According to the US Department of 
Justice, in at least 86 per cent of the reported 
cases of rape or sexual assault against American 
Indian and Alaska Native women, survivors 
report that the perpetrators are non-Native men.
Sexual violence against Indigenous women is the 
result of a number of factors including a history 
of widespread and egregious human rights 
violations against Indigenous peoples in the 
USA. Indigenous women were raped by settlers 
and soldiers in many infamous episodes 
including during the Trail of Tears and the Long 
Walk. Such attacks were not random or 
individual; they were tools of conquest and 
colonization. The underlying attitudes towards 
Indigenous peoples that supported these human 
rights violations committed against them 
continue to be present in society and culture in 
the USA. They contribute to the present high 
rates of sexual violence perpetrated against 
Indigenous women and help to shield their 
attackers from justice.
Treaties, the US Constitution and federal law 
affirm a unique political and legal relationship 
between federally recognized tribal nations and 
the federal government. There are more than 550 
federally recognized American Indian and 
Alaska Native tribes in the USA. Federally 
recognized Indian tribes are sovereign under US 
law, with jurisdiction over their citizens and land 
and maintaining government to government 
relationships with each other and with the US 
federal government. The federal government has 
a legal responsibility to ensure protection of the 
rights and wellbeing of Native American and 
Alaska Native peoples. The federal government 
has a unique legal relationship to the tribal 
nations that includes a trust responsibility to 
assist tribal governments in safeguarding the 
lives of Indian women.
Tribal law enforcement agencies are chronically 
under-funded – federal and state governments 
provide significantly fewer resources for law 
enforcement on tribal land than are provided for 
comparable non-Native communities. The lack of 
appropriate training in all police forces -- federal, 
state and tribal -- also undermines survivors' 
right to justice. Many officers don't have the 
skills to ensure a full and accurate crime report. 
Survivors of sexual violence are not guaranteed 
access to adequate and timely sexual assault 
forensic examinations which is caused in part by 
the federal government's severe under-funding of 
the Indian Health Service.
The Federal Government has also undermined the 
authority of tribal governments to respond to 
crimes committed on tribal land. Women who 
come forward to report sexual violence are 
caught in a jurisdictional maze that federal, state 
and tribal police often cannot quickly sort out. 
Three justice systems -- tribal, state and federal -
- are potentially involved in responding to sexual 
violence against Indigenous women. Three main 
factors determine which of these justice systems 
has authority to prosecute such crimes: 
- whether the victim is a member of a federally 
recognized tribe or not; 
- whether the accused is a member of a federally 
recognized tribe or not; and 
- whether the offence took place on tribal land or 
not.
The answers to these questions are often not self-
evident and there can be significant delays while 
police, lawyers and courts establish who has 
jurisdiction over a particular crime. The result 
can be such confusion and uncertainty that no 
one intervenes and survivors of sexual violence 
are denied access to justice.
Tribal prosecutors cannot prosecute crimes 
committed by non-Native perpetrators. Tribal 
courts are also prohibited from passing custodial 
sentences that are in keeping with the seriousness 
of the crimes of rape or other forms of sexual 
violence. The maximum prison sentence tribal 
courts can impose for crimes, including rape, is 
one year. At the same time, the majority of rape 
cases on tribal lands that are referred to the 
federal courts are reportedly never brought to 
trial.
As a consequence Indigenous women are being 
denied justice. And the perpetrators are going 
unpunished.
In failing to protect Indigenous women from 
sexual violence, the USA is violating these 
women's human rights. Indigenous women's 
organizations and tribal authorities have brought 
forward concrete proposals to help stop sexual 
violence against Indigenous women – but the 
federal government has failed to act.
Amnesty International is calling on the US 
government to take the first steps to end sexual 
violence against American Indian and Alaska 
Native women:
- Work in collaboration with American Indian 
and Alaska Native women to obtain a clear and 
accurate understanding about the prevalence and 
nature of sexual violence against Indigenous 
women;
- Ensure that American Indian and Alaska 
Native women have access to adequate and 
timely sexual assault forensic examinations 
without charge to the survivor. 
- Provide resources to Indian tribes for additional 
criminal justice and victim services to respond to 
crimes of sexual violence against Native 
American and Alaska Native women.
This report and action is part of the international 
SVAW campaign project on stopping violence 
against Indigenous women globally. This project 
will encompass not only this current work on 
sexual violence against Indigenous women in the 
USA, but also ongoing work on AI Canada's 
2004 report "Stolen Sisters: Discrimination and 
Violence Against Indigenous Women in 
Canada", and work now under development by 
other sections and I.S. country teams. 


QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR NATIVE 
AMERICAN AND ALASKA NATIVE 
WOMEN
 
It is essential that health service facilities have the 
staff, resources and expertise to ensure the 
accurate, sensitive and confidential collection of 
evidence in cases of sexual violence and secure 
storage of this evidence until it is handed over to 
law enforcement officials. Health professionals 
also have a key role to play in providing 
survivors of sexual violence with any additional 
medical attention they may need, including 
treatment for any injuries and for sexually 
transmitted infections as well as emergency 
contraception. 
A key step in ending the maze of injustice for 
Native American and Alaska Native women is 
making sure that they have free access to sexual 
assault forensic examinations conducted by 
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. The Indian 
Health Service (IHS) must adopt and implement 
standardized policies and protocols for handling 
cases of sexual violence at all IHS emergency 
rooms. These policies and protocols should be 
developed in cooperation with Indigenous 
women's rights defenders and implemented by 
trained medical personnel in the form of Sexual 
Assault Violence Nurse Examiners. 

TAKE ACTION FOR NATIVE AMERICAN 
WOMEN

Sample Letter

Robert G. McSwain - Acting Director 
Indian Health Service
The Reyes Building
801 Thompson Avenue, Ste. 400
Rockville, MD 20852-1627

Dear Mr. McSwain, 

I have recently become aware of an Amnesty 
International report, conducted during 2005 and 
2006 in consultation with Native American and 
Alaska Native organizations, which profiles the 
horrendous rates of sexual violence against 
Indigenous women in the USA. The report, 
"Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Native 
American and Alaska Native women from 
sexual violence in the USA," found that 
Indigenous women suffer disproportionately 
high levels of rape and sexual violence. 
According to the Justice Department, Native 
American and Alaska Native women are 2.5 
times more likely to be raped than women in the 
United States in general, and this statistic is 
widely considered to be a low estimate. The 
Amnesty International report unraveled many of 
the reasons why Indigenous women are at such 
high risk for sexual violence and why they are 
continuously denied justice.  One main factor 
was lack of accessible and comprehensive 
medical services and response to survivors. 
	Indian Health Service (IHS) is the 
principle and, in some areas, sole provider of 
health services for Native American and Alaska 
Native people. Reports to Amnesty International 
indicate that many IHS facilities lack clear 
protocols for treating victims of sexual violence 
and do not provide consistent access to sexual 
assault forensic examinations (also known as 
"rape kits") and other related health services, 
such as testing for sexually-transmitted infection, 
pregnancy testing, emergency contraception and 
culturally appropriate support services. The 
report found that the IHS has not prioritized the 
implementation of programs involving Sexual 
Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs)-registered 
nurses with advance education and clinical 
preparation in forensic examinations of victims 
of sexual violence-throughout its facilities. IHS's 
lack of consistent protocols and services are 
inexcusable barriers to Indigenous survivors and 
advocates dealing with crisis. 
A key step in ending the maze of injustice for 
Native American and Alaska Native women is 
making sure that they have free access to sexual 
assault forensic examinations conducted by 
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners. The IHS must 
adopt and implement standardized policies and 
protocols for handling cases of sexual violence at 
all IHS emergency rooms. These policies and 
protocols should be developed in cooperation 
with Indigenous women's rights defenders and 
implemented by trained medical personnel in the 
form of Sexual Assault Violence Nurse 
Examiners. 
I know that IHS' main concern is to provide high 
quality health service to Native American and 
Alaska Native people, therefore I thank you in 
advance for your active support to help unravel 
this maze of injustice.

Sincerely, (your name and address)

 
DEATH PENALTY ACTION
IRAN
12 February 2008
UA 38/08 Death sentence/Unfair trial/Torture

IRAN Ya'qub Mehrnehad (m), aged 28, member 
of Iran's Baluchi minority Baluchi cultural and 
civil rights activist Ya'qub Mehrnehad was 
sentenced to death in early February, for an 
unknown offense, after an unfair trial conducted 
behind closed doors. He has allegedly been 
tortured. His appeal before the Supreme Court 
has been scheduled for 17 February, denying him 
the minimum 20 days normally given in Iran for 
him to prepare his appeal.
  His trial began on 25 December 2007 before a 
court in Zahedan, the capital of Sistan-
Baluchistan province. This may have been a 
special court set up in the city in May 2006, and 
it is unclear if it operates as a branch of the 
Revolutionary Court it would be governed by the 
General and Revolutionary Court procedures, but 
it may be operating outside that framework. 
Furthermore, in June 2006 it was announced that 
a "special judicial complex for security affairs" 
had begun work and that a recommendation had 
been made to the Judiciary to establish a branch
of the Supreme Court in the complex in order to 
expedite the implementation of sentences and to 
reduce the time between the commission of 
crimes and the implementation of sentences. 
      Amnesty International is concerned that
Ya'qub Mehrnehad may be in imminent danger of 
execution.  Ya'qub Mehrnehad is the head of a 
government-registered NGO, "The Voice of 
Justice Young People's Society", which 
specializes in organizing events such as concerts 
and educational courses for young Baluchi 
people. He was arrested in early May 2007 along 
with six other members of the association after 
they attended a meeting in the Provincial Office 
of Culture and Islamic Guidance, which the 
Governor of Zahedan reportedly attended. The 
six other men were later released. The exact 
reasons for his arrest are not known although 
some newspaper reports in July 2007 mentioned 
that a man identified as Ya'qub M. was being 
detained on suspicion of "aiding Abdolmalek
Rigi", the head of a Baluchi armed group, 
Jondallah, also known as the Iranian Peoples' 
Resistance Movement.  Five months after his 
arrest, Ya'qub Mehrnehad was allowed visits 
from his lawyer and his family, who said 
afterwards that he had been tortured, had lost 
about 15kg and was unable to keep his balance.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Iran's Baluchi minority live mainly in the south-
east of the country, and are believed to make up 
between one and three percent of the total 
population of around 70 million. Mainly Sunni 
Muslims, they have for many years complained 
of discrimination by the authorities. Jondallah 
has carried out a number of armed attacks on 
Iranian officials and has sometimes taken 
hostages and killed them. It reportedly seeks to 
defend the rights of the Baluchi people, though 
government officials have claimed that it is 
involved in drug smuggling and terrorist 
activities and has ties to foreign governments. 
Attacks by Jondallah have been followed by 
widespread arrests of members of the Baluchi 
minority. According to a 15 March 2007 BBC 
report, Sistan-Baluchistan television said that at 
least two people had been hanged in
connection with a 14 February 2007 attack on a 
bus carrying Revolutionary Guards. At least 17 
other people are reported to have been either 
sentenced to death or executed in connection with 
a March 2006 attack in Tasuki, in which up to 22 
people were reportedly killed. In an interview 
with the Iranian newspaper 'Ayyaran on 17 
March 2007, parliamentarian Hossein Ali 
Shahryari said prisons in Sistan-Baluchistan 
province held more than 700 people under 
sentence of death. In 2007, at least 312 people 
were executed in Iran, and the true figure may be 
considerably higher. There was a marked rise in 
the number of Baluchis executed. For further 
information please see: Iran: Human Rights 
Abuses against the Baluchi Minority, September 
2007:  
http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MD
E13/104/2007.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send 
appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- calling on the authorities not to carry out the 
death sentence against Ya'qub Mehrnehad;
- asking for details of the charges against Ya'qub 
Mehrnehad and his trial;
 - expressing concern at reports that Ya'qub 
Mehrnehad has been tortured, and has lost 15kg 
and cannot keep his balance as a result, and 
reminding the authorities of their responsibility to 
ensure that he has access to adequate medical 
treatment;
 - stating that Amnesty International recognizes 
the right and responsibility of governments to 
bring to justice those suspected of criminal 
offenses, but opposes the death penalty as the 
ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading 
punishment.

APPEALS TO:
Leader of the Islamic Republic
His Excellency Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader,
Islamic Republic Street - Shahid Keshvar Doust
Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@leader.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Howzeh Riyasat-e Qoveh Qazaiyeh / Office of 
the Head of the Judiciary
Pasteur St., Vali Asr Ave., south of Serah-e 
Jomhouri,
Tehran 1316814737, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info@dadgostary-tehran.ir (In the
subject line write: FAO Ayatollah Shahroudi)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Intelligence
Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejeie
Ministry of Intelligence, Second Negarestan 
Street,
Pasdaran Avenue,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Salutation: Your Excellency

COPIES TO:
President
His Excellency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
The Presidency, Palestine Avenue, Azerbaijan
Intersection,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir
via website: www.president.ir/email/

Speaker of Parliament
His Excellency Gholamali Haddad Adel
Majles-e Shoura-ye Eslami, Baharestan Square,
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: 011 98 21 3355 6408
Email: hadadadel@majlis.ir
(Ask for your message to be passed to the Article
90 Commission)

Iran does not presently have an embassy in the
United States. Instead, please send copies to:
Iranian Interests Section
Embassy of Pakistan
2209 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC 20007
Fax: 1 202 965 1073
Email: requests@daftar.org

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.
Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if 
sending appeals after 25 March 2008.
 



DEATH PENALTY ACTION
AFGHANISTAN

12 February 2008
UA 39/08 Death Penalty

AFGHANISTAN Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh (m), 
student and journalist University student and 
journalist. Perwiz Kambakhsh was sentenced to 
death on a charge of blasphemy on 22 January in 
the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif in Balkh 
province. Before the trial began, local religious 
leaders had called for him to be executed for 
causing offense to Islam. His trial took place in a 
closed session of the provincial lower court and 
he had no legal representation. Perwiz 
Kambakhsh was convicted under the blasphemy 
laws for allegedly downloading material from the 
internet that examined the role of women in 
Islam and distributing it at Balkh University. His 
brother Yaqub Ibrahimi has filed an appeal on his 
behalf. If the appeal is rejected by both the 
Appeal
Court and the Supreme Court, his sentence will 
be passed for review to President Karzai, who 
under the Constitution is authorized to approve 
it, commute the sentence or pardon Perwiz 
Kambakhsh altogether. Perwiz Kambakhsh 
reportedly said that the court consisted of three 
judges and an attorney. He was handed the 
written death sentence before he had a chance to 
defend himself and then escorted from the room 
by armed guards and returned to prison. Perwiz 
Kambakhsh, who also works for a local 
newspaper in Mazar-e-Sharif, has denied all 
charges against him saying that his confession 
was coerced. The case against Perwiz 
Kambakhsh appears to be politically motivated, 
aimed at stopping his brother Yaqub Ibrahimi - 
also a journalist who works for the Institute for 
War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) a charity 
providing
training and capacity building for local media - 
from publishing articles critical of local power 
holders. Perwiz was arrested in November 2007 
after Yaqui published a series of articles voicing 
concerns about local leaders.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Fifteen people were executed in October 2007, the 
first executions in Afghanistan for three years. 
The 15 were gunned down as they attempted to 
flee the execution and one person sentenced to 
death allegedly bribed his way out of the 
execution. The executions were immediately 
followed by a 10-day hunger strike by some 
prisoners in Pule-Charkhi prison. The prisoners 
said that the executions were not based on fair 
and transparent trials, that some were politically 
motivated and that at least one person escaped 
execution by paying bribes. Between 70 and 110
people are believed to remain on death row. The 
death sentence against Perwiz Kambakhsh comes 
despite the UN General Assembly's adoption of 
a resolution (18 December 2007) calling for a 
worldwide moratorium on the use of the death 
penalty and at a time when a total of 135 
countries have abolished the death penalty in law 
or practice. Amnesty International opposes the 
death penalty in all cases. The death penalty is a 
symptom of a culture of violence, and not a 
solution to it. It has not been shown to have any 
greater deterrent effect than other punishments, 
and is known to have been carried out on the 
innocent. The death penalty is the ultimate form 
of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, and 
a violation of the right to life, a right proclaimed 
in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 
and other international human rights 
instruments. 

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send 
appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:  
- calling on President Karzai to use his powers to 
pardon Perwiz Kambakhsh;
 - expressing concern that the court proceedings 
fell far below international fair trial standards;
 - expressing concern that the charges against 
Perwiz Kambakhsh appear to have been brought 
for political reasons ;
- calling on President Karzai to re-introduce an 
immediate moratorium on all executions in 
Afghanistan, as called for in the recent UN 
General Assembly resolution that was passed, 
with a view to an eventual abolition of the death 
penalty in line with the worldwide trend.

APPEALS TO:

Please Note:
It is difficult to get letters and emails to 
Afghanistan. Please send appeals to the 
Ambassador of Afghanistan, and ask that they 
be forwarded to President Karzai, Attorney 
General Abdul Jabar Sabit and Minister of Justice

Sarwar Danish.
Ambassador Said Tayeb Jawad
Embassy of Afghanistan
2341 Wyoming Avenue NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 483 6488
Email: info@embassyofafghanistan.org

PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY.
Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if 
sending appeals after 25 March 2008.




LETTER COUNT
US/Torture: 	 8
POC:	 1
DP (Singapore):	 2
Other UAs:	 6
	  
Total:	17
To add your letters to the total contact 
lwkamp@gmail.com






Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code 5-62
Pasadena, CA 91125
www.its.caltech.edu/~aigp22/
http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com




Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and 
ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and 
expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all 
human rights.