Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XVII  Number 5, May 2009


Thursday, May 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.  

Sunday, June 7, Monthly Movie Night.  Time 
and location TBD.

Tuesday June 9, 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, June 21, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion Group. Vroman's 
Book Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., 
Pasadena.  This month we read "The Cellist of 
Sarajevo" by Steven Galloway. 


Hope you all are enjoying the beautiful weather 
this Memorial Day weekend. In-between today's 
recreational and other activities, take a moment to 
remember those who have sacrificed their lives in 
battle.  These men and women have paid the 
ultimate price. Say a prayer for healing also for 
those who have returned home wounded in body 
and spirit.
We heard some sad news the other day - due to 
the economy, Amnesty has had to lay off 
employees and the Western Regional Office in 
Culver City has closed. The San Francisco office 
remains open.  Best of luck to the 3 women who 
staffed the office - Kathy Brown, Julissa Gomez, 
and Mona Cadena - who are now without jobs. 
Those of you who have attended AI conferences 
remember Kathy Brown helping with Group Sales 
and other administrative stuff. Julissa Gomez 
came to one of our monthly meetings to talk 
about student activism.
Last month's movie night was an outing to see the 
film "The Soloist", based on the book by Steve 
Lopez, the LA Times columnist who befriended a 
homeless musician. The reviews were mixed, but 
I think most of the group really liked the film.  I 
know I did! Afterwards, we went out to eat and a 
good time was had by all!  Join us for our next 
movie night, movie and theatre to be determined!
Con carino,


President Obama issued a statement in honor of 
World Press Freedom Day (May 3). He didn't 
mention Estifanos Seyoum, the prisoner of 
conscience Group 22 adopted two years ago, but 
he did criticize Eritrea. 

Statement by the President in honor of World 
Press Freedom Day:

"World Press Freedom Day is annually observed 
on May 3 to remind us all of the vital importance 
of this core freedom.  It is a day in which we 
celebrate the indispensable role played by 
journalists in exposing abuses of power, while we 
sound the alarm about the growing number of 
journalists silenced by death or jail as they 
attempt to bring daily news to the public.
Although World Press Freedom Day has only 
been celebrated since 1993, its roots run deep in 
the international community.   In 1948, as people 
across the globe emerged from the horrors of the 
Second World War, nations saw fit to enshrine in 
the Universal Declaration on Human Rights the 
fundamental principle that everyone 'has the right 
to freedom of opinion and expression; this right 
includes freedom to hold opinions without 
interference and to seek, receive and impart 
information and ideas through any media and 
regardless of frontiers.'
..In every corner of the globe, there are journalists 
in jail or being actively harassed: from Azerbaijan 
to Zimbabwe, Burma to Uzbekistan, Cuba to Eritrea."

President Obama also mentioned imprisoned 
journalists Shi Tao and Hu Jia. You can read his 
full statement at 
Go to Official Statements and scroll to 5/1/2009. 

Estifanos Seyoum was arrested in Eritrea's 2001 
crackdown along with Aster Fissehatsion and 
other former government officials who dared to 
criticize the policies of Eritrea President Issayas 
Afewerki. Ten journalists were arrested at the 
same time because they published these 
criticisms. They were all detained without charge 
or trial in secret prisons and some are alleged to 
have died as a result of harsh treatment. 
Amnesty International has asked us not to write 
to Eritrea officials at this time, so a suggested 
action for this month would be to thank President 
Obama for drawing attention to Eritrea's 
repression of freedom of expression. Send email 



Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, May 17, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard
in Pasadena

"The Cellist of Sarajevo"
By Steven Galloway
The Music of Resistance
A review by Danielle Marshall

"It screamed downward, splitting air and sky 
without effort. A target expanded in size, brought 
into focus by time and velocity. There was a 
moment before impact that was the last instant of 
things as they were."
What happens to our humanity in the midst of 
brutality and hatred? How do we maintain 
dignity and kindness in the face of atrocities? 
How do we remember the shocking events of the 
past, to prevent repetition? Steven Galloway 
tackles all of these important questions, at an 
integral time in our history, in his new novel The 
Cellist of Sarajevo. By shining a light on the 
atrocities of past wars, he forces us to face what 
we may not want to and humanizes the media 
sound bites of war.
Inspired by the true story of Vedran Smailovic, 
who risked his life to play music in the street 
where 22 were killed while waiting to buy bread, 
Galloway's novel takes readers inside the 
dreadful 1990s siege of Sarajevo and, in turn, 
beautifully illustrates the individual toll on 
civilians during wartime. A short but wonderfully 
rich, elegiac, and moving book that personifies 
the story of a country in conflict.
Galloway tells the story of the Sarajevans' 
suffering from the viewpoints of three people 
who have lived there in good times and bad. The 
first narrator is a woman in her late 20s, now 
calling herself Arrow to compartmentalize the 
two lives she has lived: one as the devoted 
daughter of a police officer in happier times, the 
other as a sniper committed to killing soldiers 
before they can kill more innocent civilians. 
Before the war, she was an expert sharpshooter 
and competed at her university. Now she must 
use her skills for more urgent and base needs and, 
ultimately, as the protector of the cellist while he 
Kenan, the second narrator, is a seemingly older 
man of only 39 who is married with children. 
Formerly employed in an accountant's office, he 
now spends his days risking his life on the 
dangerous trek through town to get drinking 
water from freshwater springs at a distant 
brewery. His life has been reduced to the 
immediate needs of his family, and the risk is 
worth the reward of several liters of clean 
drinking water to keep his family alive.
And last, we hear the voice of Dragan, a 64-year-
old bakery worker, who sent his wife and 19-year-
old son to safety in Italy, but remains in Sarajevo 
out of a sense of responsibility to the city and 
because he thinks the war will one day end and 
life will return to normal. As the war rages on, he 
is defeated in spirit; he muses after one attack: 
"The sniper will fire again, though, if not here 
then somewhere else, and if not him, then 
someone else, and it will all happen again, like a 
herd of gazelle going back to the water hole after 
one of their own is eaten there." 
This is a powerful anti-war tale; the author admits 
that he has taken liberties with the timeline of 
events to tell a story, one that is powerfully true, 
if not historically accurate. The illumination of the 
way that wars overtake formerly beautiful and 
calm places, along with the adversity war brings, 
are the strengths of this deft, eloquent work of 
fiction.  8-2-08

About the Author
Galloway was born in Vancouver, and raised in 
Kamloops, British Columbia. He attended the 
University College of the Cariboo and the 
University of British Columbia. His debut novel, 
Finnie Walsh (2000), was nominated for the in Canada First Novel Award. 
His second novel, Ascension (2003), was 
nominated for the BC Book Prizes' Ethel Wilson 
Fiction Prize, and has been translated into 
numerous languages. His third novel, The Cellist 
of Sarajevo, was published in spring of 2008. It 
was heralded as "the work of an expert" by the 
Guardian, and has become an international 
bestseller with rights sold in 20 countries. 
Galloway has taught creative writing at the 
University of British Columbia and taught and 
mentored creative writing in The Writer's Studio, 
at the writing and publishing program at Simon 
Fraser University.



Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a recipient of the Nobel 
Peace Prize, has been detained for 13 of the last 19 
years, mostly under house arrest. On May 14, 
2009, Aung San Suu Kyi and two of her assistants 
were taken from her home to Insein Prison 
following an incident in which an American man 
allegedly swam across a lake to her house and 
stayed there for two days. Reliable reports 
beginning in early May confirm that while still 
confined in her Yangon home Aung San Suu Kyi 
had been suffering from dehydration, low blood 
pressure and weight loss. Her medical condition 
makes her transfer to Insein Prison at this time 
doubly serious.

Please call on Myanmar's leaders to free Aung 
San Suu Kyi and all other prisoners of conscience.

Please Send Letters To:

Senior General Than Shwe
State Peace and Development Council
Chairman, State Peace and Development Council
c/o Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
2300 S Street N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008

Foreign Minister Nyan Win 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bldg. (19) 

Sample Letter:

Dear ,
I write to you out of deep concern at the recent 
detention of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Insein 
prison. This arrest is the latest human rights abuse 
inflicted upon the Nobel Peace Prize winner, who 
has been detained for 13 of the last 19 years, 
mostly under house arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi and two female companions 
face trial in connection to an incident in which an 
American man allegedly swam across a lake to 
her house and stayed there for two days. 
Following this incident in early May, she was 
moved from house arrest to Insein prison, where 
she now awaits trial. I call on you to release Aung 
San Suu Kyi and the companions arrested with 
her, and I urge you to see to it that Aung San Suu 
Kyi is not returned to house arrest.
I am also worried about the recent decline in 
Aung San Suu Kyi's health. When her regular 
doctor, Tin Myo Win, visited on her on May 7, 
security forces prevented him from entering her 
house. Upon returning home, he was taken away 
by the authorities, and his current whereabouts 
remain unknown. Please ensure that Aung San 
Suu Kyi receives the medical attention she needs, 
and please provide information about Tin Myo 
Win's status.
I urge your government to demonstrate 
Myanmar's commitment to human rights by 
ordering the immediate and unconditional release 
of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other prisoners of 
I thank you for your attention to this matter, and I 
look forward to your reply.
Your name and address


On Tuesday, May 19, 2009, a group of about 20 
people gathered in front of the Los Angeles City 
Hall.  Participants carried signs or petitions while 
onlookers expressed support and signed the 
petitions.  One bus driver asked as he passed, 
"Who's Troy Davis?"  For me, that showed how 
'under the radar' executions in America are.

Gabby, the young USC student who organized 
the event. gave the details of Troy's case to those 
assembled.  The group then walked to Pershing 
Square, chanting and passing out information as 
we went. 

At Pershing Square, Gabby and others explained 
more about Troy's situation and then sang a few 
songs.  To me our most interesting observers were 
two security guards who wanted to understand 
the situation.  As it became clearer to them, they 
signed the petition.  One of the guards appeared 
quite moved, and at that point, I told her about 
Amnesty and suggested she look AI up for more 

While this group was relatively small, we knew 
we were part of a global event and thus our total 
numbers were much larger.  The following is the 
latest article about Troy Davis posted on the 
Amnesty International USA website.




US death row inmate Troy Davis once again faces 
the prospect of an execution date. This is despite 
not having had a court hearing into compelling 
evidence, collected since his trial nearly 18 years 
ago, that he may be innocent. He has come close 
to execution three times in the past two years.

His final hope of being granted a court hearing 
rests with the US Supreme Court. A petition was 
filed in the Court on Tuesday 19 May. Three days 
earlier, a stay of execution granted by a federal 
court in October last year expired. The state could 
move to set an execution date at any time.

Troy Davis was convicted of the murder of a 
police officer in Savannah, Georgia, in 1989. Since 
the 1991 trial, the testimony of all but two of the 
state's witnesses who testified against him has 
been recanted or changed amid allegations that 
the police used coercion and suggestive 
identification techniques during their 
investigation of the murder.  One of the two 
witnesses who have not altered their trial 
testimony is himself the subject of new witness 
statements implicating him as the gunman.

Four of the jurors who convicted Troy Davis have 
since signed affidavits saying that the post-
conviction evidence gave them cause for concern. 
They said they supported judicial relief in the 
form of a new trial or an evidentiary hearing, or 
executive commutation of the death sentence.

In May 2009, Troy Davis said: "I have faced 
execution and the torment of saying goodbye to 
my family three times in the last two years and I 
may experience that trauma yet again; I would 
not wish this on my worst enemy and to know I 
am innocent only compounds the injustice I am 

As the case stands, the pursuit of the death 
penalty against Troy Davis continues to 
contravene international safeguards which 
prohibit the execution of anyone whose guilt is 
not based on "clear and convincing evidence 
leaving no room for an alternative explanation of 
the facts". 

"This is one in a long line of cases in the USA that 
should give even ardent supporters of the death 
penalty pause for thought, since it provides 
further evidence of the danger, inherent in the 
death penalty, of irrevocable error," said Amnesty 
International's USA researcher Rob Freer.

"Last month a federal judge said that to execute 
Troy Davis would be 'unconscionable'. She was 
surely right."

In September 2008, the Georgia Board of Pardons 
and Paroles denied Troy  Davis clemency, before 
a court issued the stay of execution that has just 
expired. Amnesty International is campaigning to 
have the Board change its mind and to commute 
the death sentence.

China postcards  7
UAs             26
Total:	        33
To add your letters to the total contact

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