Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XV Number 9, September 2008

Thursday, September 25, 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, October 14, 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, October 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group. Vroman's 
Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., 
Pasadena.  This month we read "The Reluctant 
Fundamentalist" by Mohsin Hamid.

Hi everyone,
I am enjoying the mellow Indian Summer days 
even though school has started again and the 
craziness has begun!  I have been working at a 
large and very busy elementary school in South 
LA with a new nurse the past 3 weeks. The 
commute is around an hour each way and I am 
exhausted!  So forgive me if this column is not 
up to its "usual standards!".
We have an election coming up in 46 days and 
although I can't give my opinions here, it has 
been very interesting with the latest addition to 
McCain's cast! 
Don't forget the Western Regional Conference, 
which will be held at the Pasadena Hilton Nov 7-
9.  Early bird registration (which is discounted) 
ends October 17th, so don't forget to send yours 
in. The form is available online at:
The conference theme is "Breaking Borders:  60 
Years of Human Rights"and the featured speaker 
will be Mia Kirshner, author of I Live Here.  The 
film Jihad for Love will be shown at the conference.
There are two death penalty cases mentioned in 
this newsletter:  that of Jack Alderman, who has 
already been executed and Troy Davis, whose 
execution is scheduled this coming Tuesday, 
September 23rd. 

Con carino,



September 18 was the seventh anniversary of the 
arrest of Estifanos Seyoum, the Eritrean prisoner 
of conscience adopted by Group 22. He was 
detained in 2001 along with 10 other senior 
government officials and a number of 
independent journalists in a general crackdown 
by the Eritrea government. None of these 
prisoners has ever been charged or tried. Some 
are reported to have died in prison but Eritrea 
refuses to confirm these reports or indeed to 
reveal anything at all about the status of these 
prisoners. Amnesty International issued the 
following statement to mark this sad occasion:

AI Index: AFR 64/007/2008 (Public)
Date: 18 September 2008

Eritrea: Prisoners of conscience remembered on 7th 
anniversary of mass detentions
Seven years ago, on 18 September 2001, the 
Government of Eritrea detained hundreds of former 
government leaders, private-media journalists and 
civil servants. Today, as we mark the seventh 
anniversary of this detention, most are still believed 
to be held in incommunicado detention. 

Amnesty International considers these detainees to be 
prisoners of conscience, detained for the peaceful 
expression of their political views. The Eritrean 
government has never disclosed the location of those 
detained, and has repeatedly failed to provide a 
verifiable response to allegations that a number of 
those detained have died in detention, in spite of 
persistent appeals from Amnesty International 
members worldwide. 

The Government of Eritrea is doing all that they can 
to ensure that these prisoners are forgotten. They are 
still denied family visits. No-one has been charged or 
brought to court. They are also believed to be denied 
medical treatment and are in many cases are likely to 
be detained in harsh conditions and subjected to 
torture, or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or 
punishment. The family and friends of those detained 
in Eritrea for the last seven years also face persecution 
when they speak out against detention of their loved 
ones. Arbitrary detention in Eritrea continues and has 
led to the detention of thousands of others, detained 
for their opinion or beliefs, who are currently 
suffering the same harsh conditions and treatment. 

On this seventh anniversary, Amnesty International 
reiterates its call to the Government of Eritrea to 
unconditionally release all of those arrested 7 years 
ago, still being held incommunicado without charge 
or trial. We call on the international community not to 
forget these prisoners, but instead to use all possible 
diplomatic means to secure their welfare and release. 

Amnesty International's call to the Government of Eritrea

-	Amnesty International demands that the 
Eritrean Government immediately release all 
prisoners of conscience imprisoned in Eritrea for their 
opinions or beliefs.
-	Amnesty International calls for the Eritrean 
government to disclose the status and condition of the 
thousands of individuals that are reportedly held in 
arbitrary detention, and grant them access to their 
families, lawyers and medical personnel.
-	Amnesty International demands that the 
Eritrean government end the persecution and threats 
against the family member of prisoners of conscience 
detained in Eritrea.

[End of AI statement]

Please join Group 22 and take action in behalf of 
the Eritrean prisoners of conscience. You can use 
the following sample letter to the Eritrea 
Ambassador as a guide.

His Excellency Ghirmai Gebremariam
Ambassador of Eritrea
1708 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20009

Dear Ambassador,

September 18 marked the seventh anniversary of the 
arrest of Estifanos Seyoum, former Brigadier General 
and head of the Inland Revenue Service until August 

Estifanos Seyoum and 10 other senior government 
officials and a number of independent journalists have 
been held incommunicado without charge or trial 
since 2001. These detainees are prisoners of 
conscience, imprisoned for the peaceful expression of 
their political views. Some are alleged to have died 
while in detention because of torture and ill treatment 
and denial of medical care.

Aster Fissehatsion, Ahmed Sheriffo, Beraki 
Gebreselassie, Berhane Gebregziabeher, Haile 
Woldetensae, Hamad Hamid Hamad, Mahmoud 
Ahmed Sheriffo, Ogbe Abraha, Petros Solomon, 
Saleh Kekiya, and Estifanos Seyoum are not 
forgotten. I call upon the Eritrea authorities to make 
known their status.

I urge that the Eritrean government immediately 
release all those imprisoned in Eritrea solely because 
they peacefully expressed their opinions or beliefs. I 
call upon the Eritrea authorities to disclose the status 
of the thousands of individuals that are reportedly 
held in arbitrary detention and allow them access to 
their families and lawyers and medical care. 
Furthermore, it is imperative that the Eritrean 
government end the persecution and threats against 
the family members of prisoners of conscience 
detained in Eritrea.

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

"The Reluctant Fundamentalist"
By Mohsin Hamid

From the author of the award-winning Moth Smoke 
comes a perspective on love, prejudice, and the war 
on terror that has never been seen in North American 
At a cafe' table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man 
converses with a suspicious, and possibly armed, 
American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he 
begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful 
meeting. . .
Changez is living an immigrant's dream of America. 
At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up 
by Underwood Samson, an elite firm that specializes 
in the "valuation" of companies ripe for acquisition. 
He thrives on the energy of New York and the 
intensity of his work, and his infatuation with regal 
Erica promises entree into Manhattan society at the 
same exalted level once occupied by his own family 
back in Lahore.
For a time, it seems as though nothing will stand in 
the way of Changez's meteoric rise to personal and 
professional success. But in the wake of September 11, 
he finds his position in his adopted city suddenly 
overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica 
eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And 
Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, 
unearthing allegiances more fundamental than 
money, power, and perhaps even love.
Elegant and compelling, Mohsin Hamid's second 
novel is a devastating exploration of our divided and 
yet ultimately indivisible world.
"Excuse me, sir, but may I be of assistance? Ah, I see I 
have alarmed you. Do not be frightened by my 
beard: I am a lover of America. I noticed that you 
were looking for something; more than looking, in 
fact you seemed to be on a mission, and since I am 
both a native of this city and a speaker of your 
language, I thought I might offer you my services as a 
-from The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Author Biography  
Mohsin Hamid grew up in Lahore, attended 
Princeton University and Harvard Law School 
and worked for several years as a management 
consultant in New York. His first novel, Moth 
Smoke, was published in ten languages and was 
a winner of a Betty Trask award, a finalist for the 
PEN/Hemingway award, and a New York Times 
Notable Book of the Year. His essays and 
journalism have appeared in Time, The New 
York Times and The Guardian, among others. 
Mohsin Hamid currently lives, works and writes 
in London.



- From Amnesty International USA 17 September 2008
Further information on UA 254/08 (12 September 2008) - 
Death penalty/Legal concern USA (Georgia)            
 Jack E. Alderman (m), white, aged 56

Jack Alderman was executed in Georgia on the 
16 September. He was sentenced to death in June 
1975 for the murder of his wife, Barbara Jean 
Alderman, in 1974. He had been on death row for 
more than 30 years. 

On 15 September, Fulton County Superior Court 
Judge Melvin Westmoreland issued a stay of 
execution, ordering that Jack Alderman's death 
sentence not be carried out until he had had a 
"meaningful" clemency hearing from the state 
Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP). Prior to 
this, the BPP had refused to reconsider Jack 
Alderman's case after denying him clemency in 
October 2007. In June 2008, his lawyers asked 
the BPP to hold a clemency hearing, but it had 

Following Judge Westmoreland's ruling, the BPP 
agreed to hold a hearing on 16 September, after 
which it denied clemency. Jack Alderman was 
put to death by lethal injection shortly after 7pm 
local time. The execution took about 14 minutes. 

There have been 21 executions in the USA this 
year, three of them in Georgia. Since 1977, when 
the USA resumed executions, 1,120 men and 
women have been put to death, 43 of them in 

No further action by the UA network is 
requested. Many thanks to all who sent appeals. 


Article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Protests held downtown over Troy Davis execution  
Lethal injection scheduled for Tuesday; 7 
witnesses have recanted in murder case 
Associated Press  Friday, September 19, 2008

More than 250 anti-death penalty protesters 
marched Thursday in downtown Atlanta to call 
for a new hearing for Troy Anthony Davis, who is 
condemned to die next week for the murder of a 
Savannah police officer 19 years ago. The group 
also held a prayer vigil at Ebenezer Baptist 

In addition, one protestor has taken up a vigil in 
a chair at Marietta and Fairlie streets to fast and 
protest the planned execution. Steve Woodall 
said he will remain at the chair until Davis is 
pardoned, his sentence is commuted, or until 
Tuesday, when Davis is due to be killed.  "I'm 
not just protesting the death penalty, I'm 
protesting because he's an innocent man," 
Woodall said, wearing a blue and white T-shirt 
that reads "I am Troy Davis."

On Thursday night, demonstrators carried signs 
proclaiming "Innocence Matters" as they walked 
12 blocks from Woodruff Park in the heart of 
downtown Atlanta to new Ebenezer Baptist Church.

The church is across Auburn Avenue from the 
historic sanctuary where the Rev. Martin Luther 
King Jr. preached. Ebenezer's pastor, the Rev. 
Raphael Warnock, said it was appropriate the 
march should end there because King opposed 
the death penalty.

"This is the house of God, but it is also the house 
of a great servant of God whose voice echoes 
from the crypt," Warnock said to the crowd, 
swollen to about 350 by the time they assembled 
in the church.

Supporters of Davis, who is scheduled for lethal 
injection Tuesday, say he should get a new trial 
because several witnesses who testified against 
him recanted or contradicted their statements. 
The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles 
denied Davis clemency last Friday but did not 
give a reason.

"We're quite shocked that the board turned him 
down," said Peggy Hendrix, an anti-death 
penalty activist from Atlanta who took part in 
the march organized by Amnesty International 
and the NAACP. "We're trying to get them to 

The case has taken on racial overtones because 
Davis is black. The slain officer, Mark McPhail, 
was white. Edward Lee, an Asian-American 
marcher, said it was a matter of social justice.
"Any of us could be in the same situation, with 
the wrong skin color or whatever," Lee said.

Eleanor Hunter of Atlanta noted that the United 
States is one of the few nations with capital 
punishment.  "We should be following the 
universal human rights proscribed by the United 
Nations," Hunter said. "That doesn't mean you 
shouldn't be punished, but each of us has the 
right to live."

The Rev. Timothy McDonald, who spoke at the 
park to begin the march, noted that all types of 
people were present, "old, young, Asian, black 
and white."  "This is what justice looks like," 
McDonald proclaimed as he exhorted the throng 
to chant "justice matters" and "innocence 
matters" along the way.

At the church, Davis' older sister, Martina Davis 
Correia, said she was gratified by the turnout. 
"Everyone is here," Correia told a reporter. "No 
matter what happens on the 23rd we win. People 
are getting involved. They're not standing for 
executing people for no reason."

She said she would not give up even if her 
brother is put to death on Tuesday. Rejection of 
his appeals so far has been on procedural 
grounds, she said.  I'm taking this fight to the 
White House," Correia said. "This is about a 
system of injustice that we have to expose."

UAs         7
DP actions  7
Total:	   14
To add your letters to the total contact

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