Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XVII Number 6, June 2009


Thursday, June 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.  

Sunday, July 12, Monthly Movie Night.  
Time and location TBD.  Note date change due 
to 4th of July weekend.

Tuesday July 14, 7:30 PM. Note change of 
venue. Letter writing meeting at Zephyr coffee 
house, 2419 E. Colorado Blvd, Pasadena. 626-
793-7330. This informal gathering is a great way 
for newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty. 
Sunday, July 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 Daughters 
of Juarez by Teresa Rodriguez. 


Hi everyone,
I won't write much - want to make room for 
information regarding the situation in Iran. It is of 
interest because we don't want to see the 
reformers suppressed like others in China and 
Myanmar. There is also a large Iranian 
community in Los Angeles - in the San Fernando 
Valley and the West Side. (There is an Iranian 
Jewish Temple by my parents' place in Tarzana!) 
Amnesty has information on their website - please 
visit for breaking 
news. For info about the death of Neda, see

You can also download these Urgent Actions: 
Urge the Release of Political Leaders and 
Activists in Iran (UA 159/09)
Release 28 Iranians Detained for Peaceful 
Expression (UA 152/09)
Protect Demonstrators From Excessive Force in 
Iran (UA 150/09)
ns/uaa15009.pdf. This one is featured later in this 

One of our Amnesty colleagues, Tracy Gore, was 
honored by the Visual Artists Guild for her work 
for human rights in China.  Congratulations 
Tracy! Lucas, Veronica, and Joyce were on hand 
to cheer as she accepted her award at House of 
Blues. The 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen 
Square tragedy was commemorated in Los 
Angeles with a 4-mile march from Chinatown to 
the Chinese Consulate and a candlelight vigil. 
Tracy spoke at the vigil and made sure that we 
carried the Amnesty banner at both these events!

Con carino,



On 10 June, two days before the election, 
following widespread public rallies across in 
support of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the Head of the 
Revolutionary Guards Political Office accused his 
supporters as being part of a "velvet revolution" 
in Iran, which "would not be successful."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed 
victory after the Ministry of the Interior 
announced results showing he had won by what 
many consider to be an unexpectedly wide 
margin. His re-election has been endorsed by the 
Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, the 
ultimate arbiter of power in Iran. Mir Hossein 
Mousavi, who has said he was initially told by the 
Interior Ministy that he was the victor, has called 
the result a "dangerous charade," and both he and 
another candidate, Mohsen Rezaei, have 
submitted formal complaints to the Council of 
Guardians, which oversees elections. A ruling on 
their complaints is expected within 10 days.

In Tehran there have been demonstrations since 
early on 13 June. The demonstrators have at times 
thrown stones and set fire to buildings, 
motorbikes, cars, and have threatened members 
of the security forces, who have responded with 
violence, beating demonstrators, and arresting at 
least 170. On 14 June the Deputy Police Chief of 
Tehran said 10 of these were people who had 
been arrested for "masterminding" the riots, 
including some politicians, and 50 for 
"orchestrating" them.

Up to five students, named to Amnesty 
International as Fatemeh Barati, Kasra Sharafi, 
Mobina Ehterami, Kambiz Sho'a'i and Mohsen 
Imani - were reportedly shot dead on 14 June 
when security forces attacked a dormitory area in 
Tehran; others - possibly dozens - were arrested 
and many reportedly injured. Amnesty 
International has received the names of 13 
students said to have been arrested. 

In an apparent response to the widespread unrest, 
the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei announced 
that there would be an investigation into 
allegations of election fraud. The Guardian 
Council - which oversees the elections - has 
received Mr. Mousavi's official complaint of 
fraud, and has said it will report back within 10 

On 15 June, protesters defied a ban on 
demonstrations and held a rally on Azadi, or 
Freedom, Square on behalf of Mir Hossein 
Mousavi attended by several hundred 
thousand - possibly up to one million - people. 
Mir Hossein Mousavi spoke at this rally. Security 
forces reportedly fired on the crowd, killing at 
least one and injuring several, after some 
protesters apparently attempted to storm a 
building linked to Basij - or paramilitary forces.
There are also reports of people arrested at 
demonstrations in provincial cities such as 
Zahedan, Tabriz, Mashhad, Babol, and Shiraz.


Your Excellency,
I am writing to you to express my concern over 
the use of violence by security forces responding 
to protests over the election results following the 
12 June elections in Iran. Large numbers of people 
have been severely beaten by riot police on 
motorcycles who wield truncheons and night 
sticks. Furthermore, up to five students at Tehran 
University were reportedly shot dead on Sunday 
14 June and another person was reportedly shot 
when security agents opened fire on a 
demonstration on behalf of Mir Hossein Mousavi 
on 15 June. Several other people were injured by 
I am also concerned that at least 170 people have 
been detained by authorities since 12 June, 
including the brother of former President 
Mohammad Khatami. Furthermore, the Iranian 
authorities have attempted to prevent the flow of 
information by blocking cell phone, text 
messaging, email and web sites.
I urge you to insure that security agents will 
exercise restraint in the use of lethal force to 
respond to protests, and to refrain from beating 
people for exercising their right to freedom of 
expression and association. I also urge that those 
detained for peacefully expressing their 
opposition to the election results be released. I 
finally urge you not to restrict the right to 
freedom of expression and association, by 
permitting peaceful public protests and by not 
interfering with communications.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely, your name and address.


Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed 'Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street - End of Shahid Keshvar 
Doust Street
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
via website:
ter (English)

Minister of the Interior
Sadegh Mahsouli
Ministry of the Interior
Dr Fatemi Avenue
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Fax: +98 21 8 896 203
+98 21 8 899 547
+98 21 6 650 203
Salutation: Your Excellency


Vroman's Bookstore

695 E. Colorado Boulevard
 in Pasadena

Sunday July 19, 6:30 pm

"The Daughters of Juarez"
By Teresa Rodriguez
Review from the Washington Post:

"The first body was found on Jan. 23, 1993. Alma 
Chavira Farel had been raped, beaten and 
strangled before being dumped in a vacant lot on 
the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez. Five months later 
another victim turned up, her body too mangled 
to be identified. By year's end, the tally hit 16 - 
all dark-haired young women, mutilated and 
ditched in the barren desert across the Rio 
Grande from El Paso. More bodies kept appearing,
about 400 over 13 years. Arrests have been made, 
investigators replaced, protests staged and 
fingers pointed. Still the slaughter of women 

It is the stuff of a 'CSI' thriller. Indeed, two 
Hollywood movies have fictionalized the story. 
But the cases are very real, and now, finally, the 
scandal is getting the serious treatment it deserves 
in 'The Daughters of Juarez,' which is being 
touted as the first nonfiction account in English of 
the unsolved murders.

Teresa Rodriguez, a reporter with the U.S.-based 
Spanish-language network Univision, made four 
trips to Juarez, returning with a tale that may 
seem unbelievable to those who have not spent 
time in Mexico. With assists from co-authors 
Diana Montane and Lisa Pulitzer, Rodriguez 
describes an industrial border city in which 
indifference, incompetence and sexism enabled a 
serial killer - or more likely several - to operate 
unchecked for more than a decade.

Rodriguez introduces American readers to a 
Mexican culture in which men dominate, the rule 
of law means little, women are devalued, 
corruption runs rampant and some people 
actually blame the victims. As state prosecutor 
Arturo Gonzalez Rascon callously put it: 'Women 
with a nightlife who go out very late and come 
into contact with drinkers are at risk.'

Rodriguez is at times overly reliant on cliches - 
corpses 'pile up like cordwood,' for instance, and 
'the names and the faces have changed, but the 
stories are sadly the same.' Much of the reporting 
comes from unnamed or secondary sources, and 
the story sometimes travels down curious 
tangents. (A case of spousal abuse is one puzzling 
example.) The book also lacks a bibliography and 
sourcing notes, which might have added 

But when Rodriguez focuses on the women and 
their stories, the book is compelling and valuable. 
Contrary to widespread perceptions, few of the 
victims were prostitutes. Many worked 12-hour 
shifts in the U.S.-owned maquiladoras, traveling 
to and from the factories before sunrise or after 
midnight, often on foot.

We meet Lilia Garcia, a 17-year-old mother of two 
who attended college prep school at night after 
working all day in a maquiladora that made 
water massage equipment. There's Silvia Morales, 
who sang in a church choir and sold shoes in a 
respectable downtown shop. And Claudia Ivette 
Gonzalez, who was turned away from her job at 
the Lear Corp. factory after arriving four minutes 
late. 'A month later her corpse was discovered 
buried in a field near a busy Juarez intersection,' 
Rodriguez writes. 'Next to her lay the bodies of 
seven other young women.'

Rodriguez and her co-authors capture well the 
contrast between the two worlds of Juarez: 'While 
the young girls were assembling sophisticated 
circuit boards' in modern, air-conditioned 
factories with 'access to sparkling indoor showers 
... and complimentary hot and cold meals ... they 
were facing illnesses like cholera and tuberculosis 
at home. Many ... were surviving in seventeenth-
century conditions, confronting life without 
plumbing and electricity in cardboard and tar-
paper hovels with no floors or foundations.'

Outrage comes, however, not only in the 
murders, but in the way they are handled by 
police and prosecutors, who at best are inept and 
at worst likely involved in the crimes they are 
investigating. In the week before Lilia Garcia's 
body was found, police received an emergency 
call of a 'rape in progress' in a barren field 300 
yards from the factory where she worked. Police 
arrived 70 minutes later but said they found 
'nothing to report.' A few days later, the body of 
Garcia, who had been beaten, raped, strangled 
and burned, was discovered in the same lot. An 
autopsy revealed handcuff bruises on her wrists.

Throughout 'The Daughters of Juarez,' suspects 
are locked up based on circumstantial evidence or 
coerced confessions. Bodies are misidentified, a 
lawyer is killed gangland style, and experts from 
Amnesty International detail egregious 
investigative errors.

Were they not so horrifying and sad, some 
elements of this tale would be laughable. Even 
after authorities had arrested Abdel Latif Sharif 
Sharif in connection with the killings, bodies 
continued to appear. When asked how that was 
possible, police claimed the Egyptian was 
directing members of Los Rebeldes gang to keep 
killing local girls - from his jail cell. Later, special 
prosecutor Suly Ponce claimed Sharif Sharif was 
hiring several bus drivers to commit a fresh batch 
of killings in 1999.

Most troubling, though, is the lack of answers. As 
recently as November, one victim's mother 
expressed doubts about the guilt of two men 
charged in her daughter's death. 'We don't want 
scapegoats. We don't want torture ... or lies,' she 
said. 'What I want is the truth.'"

Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, whose e-mail 
address is, Carolyn See, 
who can be reached at, Ceci 
Connolly, a Washington Post staff writer on leave 
in Mexico City, Washington Post Book World 
(Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World 
Service/Washington Post Writers Group)

About the Author
Teresa Rodriguez is a veteran, award-winning 
journalist at Univision (the leading Spanish 
language network in the United States). She is the 
recipient of eleven Emmy awards, eight for news-
oriented specials and three for investigative and 
feature reporting.  Rodriguez is the main co-
anchor and correspondent for the award winning 
news-magazine show Aqui y Ahora. In 1992, she 
was reporter for the George Foster Peabody 
Award winning WTVJ news team that was 
recognized for their exceptional coverage of the 
aftermath of Hurricane Andrew. Additionally, 
she was chosen as one of Hispanic magazine's 
Top Latinas in the field of Journalism in 2005.



North Korean authorities have sentenced two 
U.S. journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, to 12 
years imprisonment with hard labor. The two 
journalists, both of whom work for California-
based Current TV media venture in San Francisco, 
were arrested by North Korean officials on March 
17 near the Tumen River, which separates North 
Korea and China. The two were investigating 
human rights abuses of North Korean women. 
Urge China, which is the major provider of 
energy and food to North Korea, and which has 
considerable leverage on the regime in 
Pyongyang, to call for the release of the two 

Send Letters to:
The Honorable Zhou Wenzhong
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
3505 International Place, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 1-202-328-2582

Sample Letter

Dear Mr. Ambassador:
I am writing to express my grave concern over the 
recent sentencing of two U.S. journalists, Laura 
Ling and Euna Lee, to 12 years' imprisonment 
with hard labor in North Korea. The North 
Korean government seems to be using these two 
journalists as pawns in its dangerous game of 
escalating tensions with the international 
community. This sentence was harsher than many 
observers expected and completely out of line 
with any of the accusations that Pyongyang has 
leveled against them. As the major provider of 
energy and food to North Korea, with 
considerable leverage on the regime in 
Pyongyang, I urge you to call for the release of the 
two journalists.  Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who 
were arrested by North Korean officials on March 
17 near the Tumen River. It is not yet clear 
whether the two women had crossed the border 
into North Korea or if they were in China when 
arrested. The two were investigating human 
rights abuses of North Korean women.
As a state party to the International Covenant on 
Civil and Political Rights, North Korean 
authorities should act toward the journalists 
according to international human rights 
standards. The pair has had no access to lawyers, 
and their trial was not conducted with respect for 
due process or transparency. They have also had 
limited consular support and very limited contact 
with their families after their arrest. Finally, the 
two were convicted of an unspecified "grave 
crime" against the nation by the Central Court in 
Pyongyang, seemingly ruling out the possibility 
of any further judicial appeals.
I am also concerned that many prisoners have 
fallen ill or died in custody in North Korea, due to 
the combination of forced hard labor, inadequate 
food, lack of medical care and un-hygienic living 
conditions. Forms of punishment have included 
beatings, forced exercise, sitting without moving 
for prolonged periods of time and humiliating 
public criticism.
Laura Ling reportedly suffers from an ulcer, and 
the harsh prison conditions in North Korea might 
further deteriorate her medical condition.
I respectfully urge you to use the good offices of 
the People's Republic of China to obtain the 
immediate and unconditional release of Laura 
Ling and Euna Lee.
Sincerely, your name and address.

Posted by Brian Evans, June 18, 2009 at 1:26 PM

A Clear Scientific Consensus that the Death 
Penalty does NOT Deter

Scientists agree, by an overwhelming 
majority, that the death penalty has no deterrent 
effect.  They felt the same way over ten years ago, 
and nothing has changed since then.  States 
without the death penalty continue to have 
significantly lower murder rates than those that 
retain capital punishment.  And the few recent 
studies purporting to prove a deterrent effect, 
though getting heavy play in the media, have 
failed to impress the larger scientific community, 
which has exposed them as flawed and 

The latest issue of the Journal of Criminal Law 
and Criminology contains a study by a Sociology 
professor and a graduate student at the 
University of Colorado-Boulder (Michael Radelet 
and Traci Lacock), examining the opinions of 
leading criminology experts on the deterrence 
effects of the death penalty. 

The results reveal that most experts do not 
believe that the death penalty or the carrying out 
of executions serve as deterrents to murder, nor 
do they believe that existing empirical research 
supports the deterrence theory.  In fact, the 
authors report that 88.2% of respondents do not 
think that the death penalty deters murder - a 
level of consensus comparable to the agreement 
among scientists regarding global climate change. 
At the same time, only 9.2% of surveyed experts 
indicated that they believed the death penalty 
results in a significant drop in murder cases 
(56.6% completely disagreed with that statement, 
while 32.9% thought the correlation between 
capital punishment and lower homicide numbers 
to be "largely inaccurate"; 1.3% were uncertain). 

The study builds upon previous research, 
published in 1996, in which the opinions of 67 
leading experts in the field of criminology were 
surveyed.  The most recent study sent the same 
questions to a new group of experts (a total of 73), 
among whom were fellows from the American 
Society of Criminology, as well as award-winning 
criminology scholars.

A majority of respondents also expressed the 
opinion that death penalty states don't have lower 
homicide rates than states where capital 
punishment has been abolished.  The authors 
point to empirical evidence that backs this up - 
in 2007 murder rates in states that still had the 
death penalty exceeded those in states that have 
abolished it by no less than 42%.  More than 
eighteen percent of surveyed experts went even 
further and actually expressed the belief that the 
death penalty leads to a higher rate of murders, 
something the authors call the 'brutalization 

In addition, a majority of respondents 
involved in both the 2008 and the 1996 studies 
believe that "(d)ebates about the death penalty 
distract Congress and state legislatures from 
focusing on real solutions to crime problems."  
Overall, the authors conclude that there is no 
significant difference between the opinions of 
experts from the 1996 and the 2008 time periods 
and that "a vast majority of the world's top 
criminologists believe that the empirical research 
has revealed the deterrence hypothesis for a 

Radelet and Lacock also discuss and point to 
significant inconsistencies in a number of studies 
conducted by economists, who have found the 
death penalty to have a deterrent effect.   These 
inconsistencies lead them to conclude that 
"(r)ecent econometric studies, which posit that 
the death penalty has a marginal deterrent effect 
beyond that of long-term imprisonment, are so 
limited or flawed that they have failed to 
undermine consensus."

China postcards   3
UAs              25
Total:	         28
To add your letters to the total contact     

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