Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XV Number 3, March 2008


Thursday, March 27, 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, April 8, 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, April 20, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group. Vroman's 
Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., 
Pasadena.  This month we read "The Beautiful 
Things That Heaven Bears", by Dinaw 
Mengestu, a novel about Ethiopia.


Hi everyone,
I am enjoying the light spring weather, and 
desperately needed rest and relaxation this week 
while I am off for "spring break"!  Thankfully, the 
dreaded RIF (Reduction in Force layoffs due to 
proposed state budget cuts for teachers, school 
nurses, and other certificated personnel) notice 
did not come in the mail by the legal deadline, 
March 15! Others may not be so lucky (I have 20 
years seniority), but please take a moment to 
write Governor Schwarzenegger re the proposed 
state budget cuts, which will affect education, 
health care, and services to the poor, elderly, and 
disabled (pick on somebody your own size, 
Arnie!). Our children are our future!
"Paid political announcement" over, what's new 
with Group 22?  We're watching closely the recent 
developments in Tibet.  Amnesty has come out 
with a press statement calling on the Chinese 
authorities to allow an independent UN 
investigation of the last week's protests in Tibet 
and to lift the long-term restrictions on human 
rights monitoring in the area.  We wonder if our 
former POC, Ngwang Pekar, has been picked up 
by the authorities and imprisoned again.  There is 
an urgent action in this newsletter regarding the 
situation in Tibet.  
March is Women's History Month.  In keeping 
with that theme, AIUSA's Stop Violence Against 
Women campaign has partnered with a local 
gallery to celebrate women.  Aliados:  Presente! 
Homenaje a la Mujer is showing at Ave 50 Gallery 
in Los Angeles from March 8-April 6, 2008.  
Now the "shameless advertising" department:  be 
sure to check out Lovebirds, a bakery/cafˇ one 
block east of Lake on Colorado Blvd.  "Geezer 
Chick", AKA Group 22's Stevi Carroll, has a 
photo exhibit there.  You must see this for 
yourself!  It's very cool.   
Another event of interest is on Saturday March 
29.  The 10th annual Cesar Chavez Walk will start 
10 am from Olvera Street in downtown LA.  A 
great way to honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez!  
(If you're a middle or high-school student reading 
this, honor Cesar by staying in school the week 
before the walk and getting an education. You can 
go to the walk on Saturday!)  Si, se puede!
Con cari–o,


Group 22 continues to work in behalf of our 
adopted Prisoner of Conscience Estifanos 
Seyoum, held incommunicado along with 10 other 
former government officials since they were 
arrested in 2001. Other AI local groups are also 
working for Eritrean POCs. You can learn about 
their activities on the newly updated AIUSA 
country page for Eritrea. (Go to, click on Our Priorities, 
select By Country and click on Eritrea, then click 
on Read More.)

Group 612 in northern California with POC 
Petros Solomon called attention to the recent 
opinion issued by the United Nations Working 
Group on Arbitrary Detention. The press release 
and the opinion can be found at 
What is really interesting is the Eritrean 
Government's Response, also available at this 
site. Here's a quote from the letter written by the 
Eritrea Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

"The allegation that the 11 persons were detained 
for 'peaceful expression of their political opinions' 
is factually unfounded and perpetrated by 
involved groups and their cohorts to cover up the 
grave crimes committed against the national 
security of the country at war time. It is otherwise 
well known that expressing one's opinion or belief 
is not a crime in Eritrea for any citizen, let alone 
for senior government officials who were also 
members of the National Assembly."

Since the Ministry goes on to state that all the 
detainees are treated humanely and have access 
to medical treatment, let's write to the Ministry 
and ask if they will confirm that the detainees are 
still alive. Here's a sample letter that you can use 
as a guide. Postage is 90 cents.

Minister Osman Saleh
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
P O Box 190

Dear Minister,

I am writing to you about ESTIFANOS SEYOUM. 
(His name is sometimes spelled Stefanos Syuom.) 
He was a Brigadier General and head of the 
Inland Revenue Service until August 2001. He was 
arrested on 18 September 2001, along with ten 
other former Eritrean government officials, 
including Petros Solomon. Their current 
whereabouts and condition of health are 

As you know, the United Nations Working Group 
on Arbitrary Detention recently considered the 
case of these 11 detainees. The Ministry of 
Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea said in a 
letter to the Working Group (29 August 2007), 
"The detainees are humanely treated and have 
access to medical treatment."

I urge the Eritrean authorities to make known 
whether these 11 detainees are all indeed alive. 
Several of them are alleged to have died in 

The opinion of the UN Working Group on 
Arbitrary Detention, issued on 29 November 
2007, concluded with the following statement: 
"The Working Group believes that under the 
circumstances the adequate remedy would be the 
immediate release of Mr. Petros Solomon and the 
ten others."

I look forward to your response concerning the 
status of Estifanos  Seyoum and Petros Solomon 
and the other detainees.

[your name and address]

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at
Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, April 20, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard
 in Pasadena

"The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears"
By Dinaw Mengestu

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Barely suppressed despair and 
black wit infuse this beautifully observed debut 
from Ethiopian ˇmigrˇ Mengestu. Set over eight 
months in a gentrifying Washington, D.C., 
neighborhood in the 1970s, it captures an uptick 
in Ethiopian grocery store owner Sepha 
Stephanos's long-deferred hopes, as Judith, a 
white academic, fixes up the four-story house 
next to his apartment building, treats him to 
dinner and lets him steal a kiss. Just as 
unexpected is Sepha's friendship with Judith's 
biracial 11-year-old daughter, Naomi (one of the 
book's most vivid characters), over a copy of The 
Brothers Karamazov. Mengestu adds chiaroscuro 
with the story of Stephanos's 17-year exile from 
his family and country following his father's 
murder by revolutionary soldiers. After long days 
in the dusty, barely profitable shop, Sepha's two 
friends, Joseph from Congo and Kenneth from 
Kenya, joke with Sepha about African dictators 
and gently mock his romantic aspirations, while 
the neighborhood's loaded racial politics hang 
over Sepha and Judith's burgeoning relationship 
like a sword of Damocles. The novel's dirge-like 
tone may put off readers looking for the next Kite 
Runner, but Mengestu's assured prose and 
haunting set pieces (especially a series of letters 
from Stephanos's uncle to Jimmy Carter, pleading 
that he respect "the deep friendship between our 
two countries") are heart-rending and indelible. 

About the Author
Dinaw Meng Estu was born in Addis Ababa, 
Ethiopia, in 1978. In 1980, he immigrated to the 
United States with his mother and sister, joining 
his father, who had fled Ethiopia during the Red 
Terror. He is a graduate of Georgetown University 
and Columbia University's MFA program in 
fiction and the recipient of a 2006 fellowship in 
fiction from the New York Foundation for the 


March is Women's History Month and March 8 
was International Women's Day. The 
International Violence Against Women Act (I-
VAWA) is a groundbreaking unprecedented effort 
by the U.S. government to take leadership in 
preventing and responding to violence against 
women and girls worldwide. The Act creates a 
comprehensive five-year international strategy to 
reduce violence against women and girls in 10-20 
poor and developing countries. It allocates more 
than $175 million in U.S. assistance per year to 
fund programs that prevent violence, encourage 
legal reform, change public attitudes that condone 
violence and promote women and girls' access to 
economic opportunity, education and health. The 
Act requires the U.S. government to develop 
emergency measures to respond to critical mass 
violence against women and girls in armed 
conflict and refugee situations. This is your 
opportunity to make life better for women and 
girls around the world!  
Violence against women and girls represents a 
global health, economic development, and human 
rights problem of epidemic proportions and cuts 
across all countries, social groups, ethnicities, 
religions, and socioeconomic classes. In fact, at 
least one out of every three women worldwide are 
beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in 
her lifetime, with rates reaching 70% in some 
countries. Violence against women and girls is a 
human rights violation that causes physical, 
sexual and psychological harm or suffering, 
including rape, domestic violence, acid burning, 
dowry deaths, so-called honor killings, human 
trafficking, and female genital cutting. It 
devastates the lives of millions of women around 
the globe.
Now, for the first time, the United States has an 
historic opportunity to raise this issue in its 
diplomatic work and have an impact on the 
suffering of millions of women and girls.
The bill was introduced by Senators Joseph Biden 
(D-DE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN), Chair and 
Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee on October 31, 2007.
Current Co-Sponsors:
Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-DE) Sen. Robert 
Mendez (D-NJ) 
Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-PA) Sen. Barbara A. 
Mikulski (D-MD) 
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) Sen. Arlen 
Specter (R-PA) 
Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) Sen. Sheldon 
Whitehouse (D-RI) 


Senator Diane Feinstein
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510
Barbara Boxer
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC  20510

Dear Senator Feinstein or Boxer,

Thank you for your outstanding leadership to end 
violence against women around the world.  
Because of your support, the historic piece of 
legislation known as "The International Violence 
Against Women Act," will help to end violence 
against women around the world.
As you know, at least one out of every three 
women globally will be beaten, coerced into sex, 
or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with rates 
reaching 70 percent in some countries and every 
year, around the world, violence in the home and 
community devastates the lives of millions of 
women and girls and their families. Now, for the 
first time, through your leadership on the 
International Violence Against Women Act, the 
United States has a historic opportunity to raise 
this issue in its diplomatic work and have an 
impact on the suffering of millions of women, 
while contributing to other US foreign policy goals 
like fighting HIV/AIDS, ending poverty and 
enhancing stability.
Your bill has the power to help women and girls 
around world to be free from rape, domestic 
violence, acid burning, dowry deaths, honor 
killings, human trafficking, female genital cutting 
and other harmful practices.
You have provided real leadership on a major 
problem of our times to end violence against 
women and girls.

Thank you. (your name and address)



Samten (m), aged 17, Lungkar Monastery, 
Qinghai Province;  
Trulku Tenpa Rigsang, (m), aged 26, Lungkar 
Monastery, Qinghai Province;   
Gelek Pel (m) aged 32 Lungkar Monastery, 
Qinghai Province;  
Lobsang (m) aged 15, Onpo Monastery, Sichuan 
Lobsang Thukjey (m), aged 19 Onpo Monastery, 
Sichuan Province;  
Tsultrim Palden (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, 
Sichuan Province;  
Lobsher (m), aged 20 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan 
Phurden, (m), aged 22 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan 
Thupdon (m), aged 24 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan 
Lobsang Ngodup (m), aged 29 Onpo Monastery, 
Sichuan Province;  
Lodoe (m), aged 30 Onpo Monastery, Sichuan 
Thupwang (m), aged 30, Darthang Monastery; 
Pema Garwang (m), aged 30, Darthang 
Tsegyam (m), aged 22, Kashi Monastery;  
Soepa (m), aged 30, Mangye Monastery
According to information published by the 
Tibetan Centre on Human Rights and Democracy 
(TCHRD), 15 Tibetan monks were detained on 10 
March for staging a peaceful demonstration in 
Barkhor, Lhasa, the capital of Tibetan 
Autonomous Region. There is no information of 
their current whereabouts or of any charges 
brought against them. They are at high risk of 
torture and other ill-treatment.
On Monday 10 March hundreds of monks began 
a march from Drepung Monastery towards 
Barkhor. Another group, which included the 15 
monks now in detention, began their march from 
Sera Monastery, but were soon detained. The 
monks had been demanding that the government 
ease a "patriotic re-education" campaign which 
forces them to denounce the Dalai Lama and 
subjects them to government propaganda.
Protests began in other monasteries in support of 
those detained. Demonstrations also involving lay 
people then followed across Lhasa, in other parts 
of Tibet and in areas of the neighboring provinces 
of Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan with large 
populations of Tibetans. On Friday the protests 
became violent, with some protesters specifically 
targeting and setting fire to Chinese-owned 
businesses and attacking people from other ethnic 
The Chinese authorities urged the protesters to 
give themselves in by Monday 17 March at 
midnight, Beijing Time, and promised that those 
who did would be treated leniently.
As of today, the streets of Lhasa were reported 
to be largely quiet and empty. Police and soldiers 
are reported to be conducting house to house 
sweeps in Lhasa. Some eyewitnesses have 
reported individuals being dragged from their 
homes. There continue to be reports of unrest in 
neighboring Sichuan and Gansu provinces. There 
are also reports that some Chinese police and 
soldiers have used excessive force, including 
lethal force, against Tibetan demonstrators in 
Lhasa and elsewhere. With large numbers of 
troops now deployed in the region further human 
rights violations may be committed.
The Chinese authorities have imposed a near-
total block on information leaving Tibet and 
surrounding areas. Permits for journalists to enter 
Tibet were stopped from 12 March. Foreign 
journalists have been barred or removed from 
districts in Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai 
provinces, where the unrest has spread.
The Chinese government has the right and duty to 
defend all individuals and property from 
violence. At the same time international law 
requires that the authorities handle such crises in 
ways that uphold fundamental human rights and 
the principles of necessity and proportionality in 
the use of force. For example, firearms should 
only be discharged as a last resort and when lives 
are at risk.
TCHRD has obtained pictures of fourteen of the 
detained monks. The portraits are on their 
website at:

appeals to arrive as quickly as possible:
- urge the authorities to release the 15 monks 
named above, as well as all others detained for 
peacefully exercising their right to freedom of 
expression, association and assembly;
- urge the authorities to fully account for all those 
detained during the demonstrations, ensuring they 
are not tortured or otherwise ill-treated, have 
access to lawyers and medical care, are brought 
promptly before an independent court and are 
able to challenge their detention;
- ensure that those prosecuted are charged with 
internationally recognizable offences and tried in 
proceedings which meet international fair trial 
- allow full and unimpeded access to Tibet and 
other Tibetan areas to journalists and other 
independent observers
- allow independent UN investigation into the 
events of the last week, including full access to 
scenes of confrontation, eye-witnesses, and 
detainees, and allow similar access to 
independent observers, including journalists and 
human rights NGOs.


President of the People's Republic of China
HU Jintao Guojia Zhuxi
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100017
People's Republic of China
Salutation: Your Excellency

Chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Regional 
People's Government
Qiangba PUNCOG Zhuren
Xizang Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
1 Kang'angdonglu
Lasashi 850000, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Chairman

Minister of Public Security of the People's 
Republic of China
MENG Jianzhu Buzhang
14 Dongchang'anjie
Dongchengqu, Beijingshi 100741
People's Republic of China
Fax: 011 86 10 63099216 (it may be difficult to 
get through, please keep trying)
Salutation: Your Excellency


Mayor of Lasa Municipal People's Government 
Tibet Autonomous Region
LOBSANG Gyaincain Shizhang
Lasashi Zizhiqu Renmin Zhengfu
16 Jinjulu, Lasashi 850000, Xizang Zizhiqu
People's Republic of China
Salutation: Dear Mayor

Ambassador Wen Zhong Zhou
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20008
Fax: 1 202 745 7473
Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if sending 
appeals after 29 April 2008.

Urgent Actions	13
Eritrea	  7
Total:	20
To add your letters to the total contact

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

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.