Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XVIII Number 9, September 2010


Thursday, September 23, 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 12, 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 17, 6:30PM. Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group. This 
month we read "Forest Gate" by Peter Akinti.


 Hi everyone
Check out Facebook to see the photo of Robert 
and Marie-Helene's new arrival!  Congratulations 
to the new mom and dad from all of us!

Also on Facebook you can find a site for Group 
22, set up by Cheri, one of our members.  Click on
22/159506047393747?ref=ts&v=wall#! to access 
the group site.  Thanks Cheri!

The Western Regional Conference, "Shine a Light 
- 50 years of Activism" will be held in San 
Francisco November 5-7.  Early bird registration 
for discount hotel rates ends September 30.

This link has information on the conference and 
online registration link:

This is a link to the conference brochure with 
mail-in registration and conference schedule.

Last time the WRC was in SF, Rob and I weren't 
able to go.  We wanted to drive, but I was unable 
to call in sick for the Friday due to a commitment 
I'd made to cover a co-workers school to 
administer insulin to a diabetic child!  We plan to 
attend this year!

Con carino,

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

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


Peter Akinti was a seventies child, born of 
Nigerian ancestry, in London. He read Law at a 
London University. He has written for the 
Guardian, and worked for four years at HM 
Treasury Chambers before founding and editing 
Untold Magazine for five years. Untold was the 
first independent British magazine for black men 
and had a wealth of gifted contributors from all 
over the diaspora. Peter spent eighteen months in 
Nigeria, running a restaurant, beer parlour and 
cinema in Ondo Town, Southwest Nigeria. He 
currently lives in Brooklyn. Forest Gate is his first 


A shattering, poetic and raw first novel set 
among young Somalian refugees in the slums of 
London - beginning with a double suicide 
and ending with a rebirth. 

In a community where poverty is kept close and 
passed from one generation to the next, two 
teenage boys, best friends, stand on top of twin 
tower blocks. Facing each other across the abyss 
of London's urban sprawl, they say their good-
byes and jump. One dies. The other, alternating 
with the sister of the deceased, narrates this 

James gives us a window into the inner city - his 
mom is a crack addict, his gang "brothers" force 
him to kill another black boy. Meina describes 
with feeling her family history in Somalia: after 
her parents are killed before her eyes, her village 
aunt sells her to six husbands - before she is 
even a teenager. Desperate to rebuild their lives, 
James and Meina set out to find the place for 
which every child longs - home. 

Brutal and shockingly violent in places, 
rambunctious and lively in others and slyly, dryly 
witty in yet others, Meina and James's journey 
toward life through their past is ultimately a 
powerful story of redemptive love and the debut 
of an extraordinary literary talent.


by Joyce Wolf

My monthly googling for Gao turned up a 
September podcast with Paul Mooney, a 
journalist with the South China Morning Post. It's 
5 minutes long and you can download it from

Group 22 adopted the case of human rights 
lawyer Gao Zhisheng (pronounced Gow Jir-
sheng). Gao disappeared for a year after he was 
detained by police in China in February 2009. He 
reappeared for a few weeks, but has been missing 
since 20 April.

Mr. Mooney described a private interview with 
Gao that he conducted in April during the brief 
period before Gao's second disappearance. Gao 
thanked the people of the U.S. and other countries 
for their efforts in his behalf and said the fact that 
people on the outside care was what kept him 
going. He said he had been tortured no less 
severely than during his previous detention in 
2007. He also endured psychological harassment 
such as not being allowed to brush his teeth for 18 
days. He felt conflicted between his wish to give 
his family a rest from worrying about him and his 
desire to speak out about human rights abuse in 

Let's continue to demonstrate that the world has 
not forgotten Gao Zhisheng. This month let's 
write to the Chinese Embassy. Here's a sample 
letter you can use as a guide.

His Excellency Ambassador ZHANG Yesui
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
3505 International Place, NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Dear Ambassador,

I am deeply concerned about Gao Zhisheng,
a Beijing-based human rights lawyer 
who was detained in Shaanxi Province on 
February 4, 2009. His current whereabouts has 
been unknown since April 20, 2010.

A highly respected lawyer, Gao Zhisheng has 
represented a number of human rights defenders, 
including members of the spiritual group Falun 
Gong. The American Bar Association recently 
honored him with their 2010 International Human 
Rights Lawyer Award. 

Although Gao was named one of the top 10 
lawyers in 2001 by China's Justice Department, in 
2005 the government revoked his license and sent 
him to jail for three years, during which time he 
reportedly was tortured. I respectfully urge that 
the authorities open a full and impartial 
investigation into allegations that Gao Zhisheng 
suffered ill-treatment in detention, including 
beatings and inadequate access to medical 
treatment, and bring those responsible to justice. 

Thank you for your attention to this important 

[your name and address]



Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010

Native American and Alaska Native women are 
more than 2.5 times more likely to be raped or 
sexually assaulted than other women in the 
United States in general. A complex maze of 
tribal, state and federal jurisdictions allows 
perpetrators to rape with impunity and in some 
cases even encourages assaults. 

President Obama signed the Tribal Law and 
Order Act of 2010 (TLOA) into law on July 21, 
2010. This is a groundbreaking law marks an 
important step forward in addressing some of the 
many continuing injustices that Native American 
and Alaska Native communitie - particularly 
women - face in this country. TLOA will enhance 
the criminal justice system by improving 
coordination and communication between federal, 
state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.

Tinnekkia M. Williams-Three Legs, the Stop 
Violence Against Women (SVAW) Coordinator 
for the Dakotas, says "Before the release of the 
report by Amnesty International, the voices of our 
Native Women seemed to fall on deaf ears! Now 
the many voices of our Native sisters from around 
Indian country are being heard and more then 
[sic] that they are being listened to and changes 
are being made on an almost daily basis."

Conflict in Liberia

During the conflict in Liberia that lasted between 
1989 and 1997 and also from 1999 to 2003, 
Liberian women and girls were confronted with 
unspeakable acts of violence including: 
- Abduction 
- Rape and other forms of sexual violence 
- Murder of family 

During the conflict, women played roles such as 
commanders, combatants, porters, spies, sex 
slaves, cooks, and mothers. Estimates of women 
and girls associated with fighting forces were in 
the range of 30-40% or 25,000-30,000 of all 
fighting forces. The high levels of sexual violence 
committed against women and girls is likely one 
of the most devastating aspects of their 
experience and the main difference between what 
men and women experienced in the conflict.
Although UN-sponsored disarmament, 
demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration 
(DDRR) programs in Liberia did a better job of 
assisting females formerly associated with the 
fighting forces than other DDRR programs in 
other countries, women and girls still experienced 
significant difficulties in accessing and fully 
benefiting from the programs compared to men 
and boys.

As a result, thousands of women and girls that 
should have benefited did not. Many other 
women and girls that did participate dropped 
out for reasons such as the shame and stigma of 
being associated, limited child care, and sexual 
exploitation in schools. Many female former 
fighters are now facing overwhelming conditions 
and responsibilities alone. Few have access to 
appropriate medical care and many others are 
largely uneducated, jobless, and with few skills. 
With little help to ease the burden, they have full 
responsibility for raising their children.
At the same time, the incidences of sexual 
violence against females in homes, schools, and 
communities continue to rise in Liberia, seriously 
impacting the well being of Liberian families and 

AI is encouraging members to view a documentary 
called Women in Liberia: Fighting for Peace that 
follows the epic journey of five Liberian women, 
but no LA area dates have been posted on AI's 
website yet. If dates become available, I will 
update you.

The International Violence Against Women Act

The International Violence Against Women Act 
(IVAWA) is making progress in the U.S. Congress 
and has a good chance of passing this year, but it 
is critical that you keep up the pressure. Many of 
you have asked your member of Congress to 
support IVAWA before, but they need to hear 
from you again! We are hopeful that the bill will 
move to the floor of the House and the Senate 
very soon and members of Congress will have the 
opportunity to vote.  Secure your member of 
Congress's vote for IVAW and urge them to 
cosponsor IVAWA and support the bill when it 
comes to the floor of the House or the Senate.  

Sample Please Co-Sponsor IVAWA letter

The Honorable ______________ [Insert the 
District Office Address of your member of 
Congress here - find it at]

Dear Representative/Senator (last name),

I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor the 
International Violence Against Women Act 
(H.R. 4594/S. 2982) and support the bill when 
it comes to the floor.

Approximately one out of every three women 
globally has been beaten, coerced into sex, or 
otherwise abused in her lifetime.  Rates of 
domestic violence are up to 70 percent in some 
countries.  Every day a woman is raped, beaten 
by her husband or forced to trade sex for food.  
All too often these violent crimes are not 
prosecuted and worse still, they become socially 
accepted and tolerated. Violence against women 
is a global health crisis and human rights violation 
that contributes to instability and insecurity 
throughout our world. 

Support from the American public is strong. A 
2009 poll found that 61 percent of voters across 
demographic and political lines thought global 
violence against women should be one of the top 
international priorities for the U.S. government, 
and 82 percent supported the I-VAWA legislation 
when it was explained to them.

I am asking you, as my Representative/Senator, 
to co-sponsor the International Violence 
Against Women Act and take action to end the 

The International Violence Against Women Act (I-
VAWA) supports innovative programs which 
have been shown to effectively decrease acts of 
violence.  Many of these programs help women 
and girls do things we so often take for granted; 
go to school, earn an income to take care of their 
families, collect food or water without fear of 
rape and bring perpetrators of abuse to justice.  I-
VAWA will increase the efficiency and 
effectiveness of existing US foreign policy to end 
violence against women and enhance our ability 
to stop the suffering.  

In a world where tensions and violence within 
communities can jeopardize national and 
international security, it is critical that the United 
States takes action to end atrocities committed 
against women and girls in their homes and in 
their communities, during times of peace and 
times of conflict. 

The International Violence Against Women Act 
provides the United States with an opportunity 
to effectively address this problem and stop the 
violence around the world. When implemented, 
this important piece of legislation will put an end 
to the fear, pain and suffering experienced by 
countless women and girls globally.  

Please make a difference in the lives of millions of 
women and girls - co-sponsor this important bill 
and support it when it comes to the floor.

Yours sincerely,
(Your name and address)**Or ask other group 
members and constituents to add their names 
and address to one letter.**



Lu Tian is a Falun Gong practitioner living in 
Pasadena. In 2009, after 30 days of detention 
and torture by the Chinese authority for her 
beliefs, she escaped to Singapore, and then came 
to the United States. The following is her story. 

"On Jan. 13, 2009 when my husband and I were 
posting Falun Gong flyers in Dalian, China, we 
were followed by three local plain-clothes police 
and taken to the Ganjingzi Police station. That 
same night, we were taken to the Dalian 
Detention Center and detained there. In the 
detention center I was forced to do the heaviest 
work, and was slapped on the face. Although 
being tortured both physically and mentally, I 
insisted that I had done nothing wrong in telling 
people the truth of Falun Gong. I was released one 
month later. With the help of my parents and my 
friends overseas, I came to the United States in 
Dec. 24, 2009.  

However, my husband Cong Rixu was not so 
fortunate. After he was arrested, the Ganjingzi 
Procuratorate and the Court framed up charges 
and tried to sentence him to prison. My parents-
in-law were constantly harassed by the local 
police. I was also monitored and harassed while 
going to Beijing to look for a lawyer for my 
husband. Even though the district attorney had 
rejected my husband's case twice before, citing 
insufficient evidence, on June 16, 2009, the 
Ganjingzi District Court still had the show trial 
and tried to sentence my husband.  When two 
lawyers for my husband entered a "non-guilty" 
plea, the court adjourned.  However, the 
Ganjingzi District Court later cooked up charges 
and sentenced my husband to three years in 
prison. Now he is jailed in the Nanguan Prison of 
Dalian. According to eyewitness accounts, the 
food is very bad there and he always suffered 
from hunger and has lost weight seriously.
The Chinese Communist Regime not only 
persecuted my husband but also his lawyer, Mr. 
Wang Yonghang. On June 16, 2009, Lawyer Wang 
Yonghang presented in court voluntarily and 
defended my husband with a "non-guilty" plea. 
This infuriated the Communist regime since no 
attorney in China was allowed to defend Falun 
Gong practitioners as "non-guilty". Lawyer Wang 
Yonghang was immediately followed and taken 
into the Dalian Detention Center. He was severely 
beaten there and sustained fractures to his right 
ankle. One of his legs suffered atrophy as a result 
of delayed medical treatment. He was not sent to 
the hospital for surgery until one month after. He 
was force-fed and almost choked to death just 
because he tried to stop the guards from torturing 
other Falun Gong practitioners in the cell. He was 
also hand-cuffed on to the ground for 48 hours. 
On November 27, 2009, Lawyer Wang Yonghang 
was sentenced to seven years into prison. Like 
Lawyer Gao Zhisheng, Mr. Wang is another 
Chinese human rights lawyer who was sentenced 
to heavy prison term.

For more than ten years, Falun Gong practitioners 
have been brutally persecuted by the Chinese 
Communist regime. They continuously face the 
risk of detention, torture and murder. Please help 
to rescue my husband Gong Rixu and his 
defending lawyer, Mr. Wang Yonghang." 

Lu Tian has been coming to the monthly meeting 
of AI group 22 and updating the current situation 
of her husband and Mr. Wang Yonghang. You 
may show your support by writing letters to Mr. 
Cong Rixu and Mr. Wang Yonghang.

Mr. Cong Rixu 
China Post Public Mail Box 203-13 
Dalian City, Liaoning Province 
P.R.China 116037

You may also visit Lu Tian's blog:



	What do Japan and the United States 
have in common?  Hello Kitty?  Anime? 
Baseball?  Well, yes, all of these plus the 
distinction of being the only major industrialized 
nations to use the death penalty.  Recently, 
Japanese authorities allowed the local media in to 
Japan's death chambers, just a month after 
executing two inmates.  Nouto Hosaka, a former 
lawmaker and former secretary general of the 
Diet's League for the Abolition of the Death 
Penalty said the media may have gotten a 
'sanitized' view of the Tokyo Detention Center.  
This new openness may lead to more national 
debate about the use of capital punishment, but 
Mr. Hosaka doesn't think it will.  While Japan 
hangs the condemned, the United States uses 
lethal injection.

New rules?

	Here in California, an injunction staying 
all executions because of suits filed against the 
use of lethal injection is in force until or unless 
Marin County Superior Court Judge Verna Adams 
rules otherwise.  This is not, however, stopping 
the prison officials at San Quentin from moving 
on "operationally" in preparation for the 
September 29 scheduled execution of Albert 
Greenwood Brown.  As we discussed last month, 
new procedures for lethal injection written by the 
California Department of Corrections and 
Rehabilitation have been adopted and 
prosecutors believe these procedures allow for the 
resumption of executions.  At this point since the 
judge's order still stands, people, from Amnesty 
International, Death Penalty Focus and others, 
watching this case expect the execution will be 
canceled.  We'll see.

George Smithey

	In late August, condemned inmate George 
Smithey had his death sentence commuted to life 
without parole because of mental retardation, a 
defense that was not allowed in his 1989 trial.  
Mr. Smithey, 70, hanged himself in his cell less 
than a week after the ruling. A prison spokesman 
Lt. Sam Robinson said he did not know if Mr. 
Smithey had been notified about the change in his 
sentence.  According to the California 
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation 
website, 18 condemned inmates have committed 
suicide since the death penalty was reinstated in 

New death row

	If you know anyone who works in the 
public sector, you probably have heard about 
budget cuts to programs we have for our shared 
benefit: education, libraries, public health, 
firefighters, police.  The governator did not take 
office and solve California's financial woes.  But 
Governor Schwarzenegger, and his 
administration, have decided to borrow nearly 
$65 million from the general fund to begin building 
a new 1,152-bed death row at San Quentin State 
Prison.  H. D. Palmer, spokesman for the 
Department of Finance said the favorable 
construction climate we have in the state, high 
unemployment in the construction industry, will 
allow the state to save money.  (It's really a jobs 
program, of course.)  The new facility will include 
a 24-bed medical treatment center while those 
1,152 beds will be divided among 768 new cells.   
The $64.7 million will, perhaps, cover the first-
year costs.  The entire project may come at $356 
million.  When I called Assemblyman Anthony 
Portantino's office to see if this project really is 
advancing, the woman who answered the phone 
laughed at my question and said we don't have 
the money.  We'll see, especially since those are 
our 356 million tax dollars at work.

10-10-10 World day against the death penalty

	During the days just prior to and after 
October 10, people around the world will take 
action to raise awareness about the death 
penalty.  The special interest of the events will 
focus on the USA, especially the cases of Reggie 
Clemons and Troy Davis. Last month at the Los 
Angeles County Coalition for Death Penalty 
Alternatives, we discussed the possibility of some 
10-10-10 action.  After our September 19 meeting 
we'll know more about this.
(Reggie Clemons:
sFactSheet.pdf  online action:

Troy Davis:
Online action: 

Teresa Lewis
	Teresa Lewis is scheduled to be executed 
September 23.  Matthew Shallenberger and 
Rodney Fuller the two men who did in fact 
commit the murders in the crime she's slated to 
die for received life sentences.  Ms Lewis' IQ is 
72.  In an Amnesty article Mr. Fuller is quoted as 
saying, "Ms Lewis would do just about anything 
Shallenberger asked her to do."  Amnesty has 
taken this case on.  Check the online action to see 
the status of this action.

Two Iranian women in danger of imminent 
From Amnesty International:
Zeynab Jalalian, a 27-year-old Iranian Kurd, was 
arrested in 2007 and convicted in 2009 due to her 
alleged connection with a Kurdish armed 
opposition group. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani 
was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death 
by stoning.  
Online action:

USA Executions

9   Holly Wood	Alabama	lethal injection
10 Cal Brown	Washington	lethal injection

Executions stayed

24	Brian Galvin		Pennsylvania
14	Anthony Dick		Pennsylvania
16	Brent Sherwood		Pennsylvania
	Gregory Wilson		Kentucky

Sentences commuted to life without parole

Kevin Keith		Ohio
Galle Owens		Tennessee

Videos on YouTube


UA's        10
UA's (DP)    2
POC          6
Total       18 

To add your letters to the total contact

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