Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XVIII Number 3, March 2010


Thursday, March 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, April 13, 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 18, 6:30PM.  Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group. This 
month we read "Sarah's Key" by Tatiana de 


Hi everyone

I'm hurrying to get the newsletter done this 
evening (I'm a day late!), so this column will be 
brief.  Some of you are aware that this year I also 
am doing the electronic newsletter for the Los 
Angeles Council of School Nurses, our district 
nursing professional organization!  (I guess one 
wasn't enough!).

It is with sadness that we say goodbye to two 
young members of Group 22.  Robert and Marie-
Helene have livened up our group activities and 
made some great contributions, such as the last 
two Doo-Dah parade themes. They will be 
moving to Paris (Marie-Helene is French-
Canadian) where Robert will pursue a post-doc in 
physics.  We wish them all the best in their new 
life abroad.  Bon Voyage!

Remember the Chinese democracy activist Tan 
Zuoren that we had children paint their 
handprints on a giant petition for at last year's 
Earth Day in Pasadena?  Don't forget to send the 
urgent action for him - found in this newsletter.

Con carino,


Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting: 
Sunday, April 18, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Boulevard In Pasadena

Sarah's Key" 
By Tatiana de Rosnay

Author Biography

Tatiana de Rosnay was born on September 
28th, 1961 in the suburbs of Paris. She is of 
English, French and Russian descent.  Her father 
is French scientist Joel de Rosnay, her grandfather 
was painter Gaetan de Rosnay.  Tatiana's 
paternal great-grandmother was Russian actress 
Natalia Rachewskia, director of the Leningrad 
Pushkin Theatre from 1925 to 1949. 
 Tatiana's mother is English, Stella Jebb, 
daughter of diplomat Gladwyn Jebb, and  great-
great-granddaughter of Isambard Kingdom 
Brunel, the British engineer. Tatiana is also the 
niece of historian Hugh Thomas.  Tatiana was 
raised in Paris and then in Boston, when her 
father taught at MIT in the 70's. She moved to 
England in the early 80's and obtained a 
Bachelor's degree in English literature at the 
University of East Anglia, in Norwich. 
 Returning to Paris in 1984, Tatiana became 
press attache' for Christie's and then Paris Editor 
for Vanity Fair magazine till 1993. Since 1992, 
Tatiana has published eight novels in France 
(published at Fayard, Plon and EHO). 
 Sarah's Key is her first novel written in her 
mother tongue, English. Sarah's Key is to be 
published in 22 countries and has already sold 
over 400 000 copies worldwide. Film rights have 
also been sold. 
 Tatiana works as a journalist for French 
ELLE and is literary critic for Psychologies 
Magazine and the Journal du Dimanche.  She is 
married and has two teenagers, Louis and 
Charlotte. She lives in Paris with her family. 


Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is 
brutally arrested with her family by the French 
police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but not before 
she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the 
family's apartment, thinking that she will be back 
within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel' d'Hiv's 60th 
anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to 
write an article about this black day in France's 
past. Through her contemporary investigation, she 
stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets 
that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself 
compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that 
terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and 
beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she 
begins to question her own place in France, and to 
reevaluate her marriage and her life. 
De Rosnay's U.S. debut fictionalizes the 1942 
Paris roundups and deportations, in which 
thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held 
at the Velodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then 
transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old 
Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris 
when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, 
unfaithful Bertrand Tezac, with whom she has an 
11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an 
American magazine and her editor assigns her to 
cover the 60th anniversary of the Vel' d'Hiv' 
roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment 
she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired 
by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants 
were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. 
She resolves to find out what happened to the 
former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka 
Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and 
four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers--
especially about Sarah, the only member of the 
Starzynski family to survive--the more she 
uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France 
and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 
languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her 
first written in English, her first language). It 
beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, 
and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence 
so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down.--
Publishers Weekly (starred review) This is the 
shocking, profoundly moving and morally 
challenging story . . . It will haunt you, it will help 
to complete you . . . nothing short of miraculous.  
--Augusten Burroughs

Have You Lobbied your Congressman 
Today?  Yes, says AI Group 22 Member 
Vincent De Stefano
By Laura G. Brown

I first met Vincent De Stefano via email, when he 
asked for AI members to form a delegation to 
lobby Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena). He held a 
meeting at his house to prepare for the session, 
and then off we went. Four of us showed up to 
meet with Schiff's representative, and I was 
impressed at De Stefano's aplomb at running the 
meeting. After brief introductions, he outlined 
several points Amnesty wanted the congressman 
to act upon, including closing Guantanamo, and 
then asked for follow-up contact.
I've gone with De Stefano two other times since -
to visit representatives for Dianne Feinstein (D-
CA) and Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas). I 
found each meeting to be well-organized, concise, 
and effective, and I plan to accompany him again 
in the future. His formula is methodical: 1.) He 
emails legislative staffs, politely asking for face 
time for Amnesty's views; 2.) He forwards the 
accepted meeting times and dates to members 
who are likely to come; 3.) He confirms those who 
will attend via email; 4.) The AI delegation meets 
with the representative; and 5.) He sets a date for 
follow-up action by phone.
I recently asked the AI Group 22 member about 
the niche he's found in promoting AI's agenda.  
Vincent De Stefano is a fit, engaging Pasadenan 
with lifelong ties to the area, and a decided gift of 
gab. He said he began his program of lobbying 
elected officials about 1 _ years ago when he lost 
his sales job after 30 years. He had always been a 
letter writer, he said, but now had the time to 
take activism a step further. 
De Stefano fears that our wars in Afghanistan and 
Iraq show the US hasn't learned its lessons from 
Vietnam. "They don't have the willingness to 
admit that the light at the end of the tunnel - is 
the headlights of an oncoming train," he said, 
adding: "Not doing something to change the 
things about government you do not like means 
you are complicit in supporting their actions."
A recent delegation to Schiff's office moved 
De Stefano to tears and reinforced his belief that 
the primary mission of AI is pursuing justice and 
civil liberties.  "Lupe introduced herself and 
spoke through an interpreter, describing how 
she'd been tortured in El Salvador. Her legs were 
broken; her teeth were broken," he said, adding 
that the woman downplayed her ordeal and said 
that preventing torture from happening to others 
was paramount.
Do the delegation visits from Amnesty actually 
affect legislation? De Stefano says that the lizard 
skin he grew during his years of sales work helps 
him to not expect immediate results. "I've been in 
sales my entire life. The closure rate is about 20 
percent," he said, adding that he takes the longest 
possible view of any success the group might have 
with legislators. Yet, he asserts that elected 
officials pay attention to groups who take the 
time and trouble to drag people into their offices. 
"Keep poking them" is his squeaky wheel 


At the Pasadena Earth Day event nearly one 
year ago, Group 22 collected signatures and 
children's handprints on a giant petition for 
environmental activist Tan Zuoren. He was 
recently sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment. 
Please join us in participating in the following 
Urgent Action from AIUSA.

(UA 91/09) CHINA, Tan Zuoren (m), aged 55, 
Chinese environmental activist and writer.
 Tan Zuoren was sentenced to five years' 
imprisonment on 9 February, for "inciting 
subversion of state power". He is at risk of 
torture and other ill-treatment. 

 Tan Zuoren, from Sichuan province in 
southwestern China, was convicted for criticizing 
the Chinese Communist Party and the government 
authorities' military crackdown on the 1989 pro-
democracy movement in Beijing. The verdict 
stated Tan Zuoren was "(u)nsatisfied with how 
the Chinese government handled the June 4th 
issue and over the years slandered the Chinese 
government through actions such as blood 
donations on June 4th commemorating the 
anniversary and writing articles such as "The last 
beauty - A witness's diary on Tiananmen 
Square" in 2007 posted on overseas website "The 
Fire of Liberty"." The verdict also accused him of 
"contacting an overseas enemy" by sending to 
Wang Dan, an exiled Chinese student leader from 
1989 an email titled "Suggestions for 20th 
anniversary activities". 

 Tan Zuoren's trial was held on 12 August 2008 at 
the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court, but his 
sentence was only announced on 9 February 2010 
after more than five months' delay, in 
contravention of Chinese Criminal Procedure 
Law. In addition to his prison sentence, Tan 
Zuoren was also sentenced to three years' 
deprivation of political rights after he is released. 
This means that for these three years, he will not 
be able to vote, stand for election, or hold a 
position in any state body or state-owned 
company and shall submit to supervision. 

 Tan Zuoren's trial disregarded China's criminal 
procedures. His lawyers reported they were 
unable to call their witnesses to testify in court, 
show the video footage they prepared, or present 
their defense. Journalist were harassed and 
prevented from reporting both on the trial and the 


 Tan Zuoren is a prominent environmentalist. He 
previously issued a report warning against 
possible health, safety and environmental 
hazards of the government's chemical projects in 
Sichuan province. Following the earthquake in 
Sichuan in May 2008, he joined a team of 
volunteers who distributed food and clothing to 
survivors. He also worked with several academics 
to investigate the cause of the deaths in the 
earthquake and improve building standards to 
prevent a reoccurrence. 

 He was detained by the police in Chengdu city, 
Sichuan province, on suspicion of "inciting 
subversion of state power" on 28 March 2009. He 
was detained for five months before his trial took 
place. He is held at Wenjiang Detention Centre 
and has appealed. 

 When his trial took place on 12 August 2009, 
internationally acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei was 
due to give evidence for the defense. However 
individuals claiming to be police came to Ai 
Weiwei's hotel room on the day of the trial 
severely beat him and illegally detained him for 
hours until after the trial had ended. Two Hong 
Kong journalists were prevented from covering the 
trial when local police detained them in their hotel 
room under the guise of searching for drugs. Police 
barred supporters of Tan Zuoren from the 
courtroom, allowing only his wife and one of his 
daughters, to attend the trial. Court officials filled 
the rest of the seats. 

 At his trial in August 2009, the indictment 
focussed both on his criticism of the Chinese 
government's handling of the 1989 crackdown 
and his investigation into the deaths of children in 
the 2008 Sichuan earthquake due to corruption 
and the collapse of poor-quality school buildings. 
His defence lawyers' arguments at trial mainly 
focussed on his right as a citizen to investigate 
these deaths and speak out on human right 
abuses. However, the verdict said that lawyer's 
defence statements in August were "irrelevant". 

 On 9 February 2010, the day his sentence was 
announced, journalists were again harassed as 
they tried to cover the story at the court. His wife, 
Wang Qinghua, and his two daughters were not 
allowed to go into the court room. They were told 
that the room was full. 

 According to a local source, his indictment said 
that he was originally detained because he had 
intended to publish sensitive information about 
the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. On the first 
anniversary of the earthquake, he had reportedly 
planned to publish a list of children who died in 
the earthquake, along with an independently 
investigated report on the collapse of many 
school buildings due to corruption. However in 
his verdict announced in court the charges 
connected to the earthquake were removed. 
 Prior to his detention in March 2009, Tan Zuoren 
had been repeatedly questioned by the police. He 
was also previously harassed by unidentified 
individuals who stole his computer twice and 
stabbed and injured his dog. 

 Human rights activists in China who attempt to 
report on human rights violations, challenge 
policies which the authorities find politically 
sensitive, or try to rally others to their cause, face 
serious risk of abuse. Many are jailed as prisoners 
of conscience after politically motivated trials, 
while growing numbers are being held under house 
arrest with the police conducting intrusive 
surveillance and standing guard outside. 

appeals to arrive as quickly as possible: 
  * Calling on the authorities to release Tan Zuoren 
immediately and unconditionally; 
 *  Urging authorities to ensure he has access to a 
lawyer, his family and any medical treatment he 
may require; 
  *  Calling on them to guarantee Tan Zuoren will 
not be tortured or otherwise ill-treated; 
  *  Calling on them to take effective measures to 
ensure that all human rights defenders can carry 
out their peaceful activities without fear of 
arbitrary detention, imprisonment, hindrance or 
intimidation, in line with the UN Declaration on 
Human Rights Defenders. 


Director of the Sichuan Provincial Higher People's Court
Liu Yushun Yuanzhang
Sichuansheng Gaoji Renmin Fayuan
108 Zhengfujie
Chengdushi 610017
Salutation: Dear Director

Director of the Chengdu City Department of 
Public Security
LI Kunxue Juzhang
Chengdushi Gonganju
144 Wenwulu, Qingyang Qu
Chengdushi 610016
Salutation: Dear Director


Prime Minister
WEN Jiabao Guojia Zongli
The State Council General Office
2 Fuyoujie, Xichengqu
Beijingshi 100017
Fax: 011 86 10 65961109
(c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Salutation: Your Excellency

Ambassador Wen Zhong Zhou
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 328-2582

Check with the AIUSA Urgent Action office if 
sending appeals after 24 May 2010.


By Stevi Carroll

The past month has seen the executions of 
Joshua Maxwell (3/11/10 - Texas), Lawrence 
Reynolds (3/16/10 - Ohio), and Paul Powell 
(3/18/10 - Virginia).  Jack Harold Jones, Jr. was 
granted a stay of execution March 16, 2010.  
Lawrence Reynolds' execution was carried out 
nine days after he attempted suicide.  Paul 
Powell died in the electric chair.  To read an 
account of his execution, go to "Post reporter 
recounts Paul Powell's execution"

Upcoming executions include Hank Skinner 
(3/24/10 - Texas), Franklin Alix (3/30/10 - 
Texas), and Richard Smith (4/8/10 - Oklahoma).  
Jurors in Richard Smith's case have come forward 
to oppose his execution.

Six Jurors Oppose Oklahoma Execution
Death Penalty, United States | Posted by: 
Brian Evans, March 18, 2010 at 1:04 PM
Oklahoma has the opportunity to save a life 
on April 8, 2010 and it is our responsibility to 
take action to prevent another state killing. 
&template=x.ascx&action=14014) Richard Smith 
was convicted of murder in 1987, and now has 
been on death row for more than half of his life.  
Not only do six jurors from his trial now oppose 
his execution, but so does a brother of the victim. 
Similar to many other death penalty cases, 
Richard Smith was not given an adequate 
defense.  His lawyer presented almost no 
evidence, and no expert testimony.  He did not 
begin investigating until seven to ten days before 
the date of trial, and he failed to present evidence 
of Smith's past abuse as a child, addiction 
problems, psychological problems, brain injury, 
and borderline intelligence. 
If the jury at the time of the trial had heard 
this evidence, the outcome of Smith's case could 
have been significantly different.  The six jurors 
who now oppose his execution exemplify the very 
reason why we should act in the name of justice.  
Due to Smith's poor representation in trial, we 
must act to commute the death sentence of 
Richard Smith.

Executive clemency is in place so that justice 
can be upheld even when the courts drop the ball.  
In the case of Mr. Smith, powerful mitigating 
evidence was never heard by a jury.  Justice 
would not be served by executing Richard Smith 
under these circumstances.  The Oklahoma 
Pardon and Parole Board should recommend that 
Governor Brad Henry commute this death 
sentence, and Governor Henry should accept that 


Postcards for Eritrea  11
UA's  13
Total  24
To add your letters to the total contact

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