Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XIX Number 7, July 2011


Thursday, July 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. 

Tuesday, August 9, 7:30 PM .  Letter 
writing meeting. We will meet at the "Rath al 
Fresco" of the Caltech Athenaeum, NW corner 
of Hill and California, in Pasadena. This is on 
the lawn behind the building. Look for the 
table with the Amnesty sign. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty!   

Sunday, August 21, 6:30PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
group.  This month we read "Blood of the 
Wicked" by Leighton Gage.


Hi All,

This month Kathy and Robert are off to the 
southeastern part of our beautiful country for a 
much-deserved vacation.  Joyce, Lucas and Stevi 
are picking up the newsletter slack.

Our July book, A China More Just by Gao 
Zhisheng, made me, Stevi, think about China's 
use of forced labor and the items we buy with 
"Made in China" stamped on them.  Joyce has 
more about lawyers and China.

Since Hospira stopped wanting their drug, 
sodium thiopental, used for state-sanctioned 
murder, states have begun using pentobarbital, 
but that too is slamming into some problems of 
conscience for its manufacturers.  And then 
there's SB 490 right here in California that may, 
if passed, change the death penalty here in the 
Golden State.

This month's Thursday meeting will be the last 
one in the current Caltech Y office. The Y is 
moving to its new address on Wilson Avenue at 
the end of August. They hope to be able to 
accommodate us there, but because that space is 
smaller, they aren't sure. Meanwhile, we will 
have to look around for a meeting place in 

 AIUSA is asking that we write to eight 
compelling cases that are being highlighted 
during this year's Summer Solidarity Action:
We hope that some of you will be willing to 
write on these cases!
As the heat and humidity steam much of our 
country, we need to stay hydrated and cool as 
possible, and hope that we will not get the 
scorching temperatures!  

Happy Summer,
Lucas & Stevi 

Human Rights Book Discussion Group
Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting: 
Sunday, August 21 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd.

Blood of the Wicked
by Leighton Gage

Kirkus Review
Multiple cross-currents complicate a high-
profile Brazilian murder investigation. Cynical 
photographer Walter Abendthaler snaps 
countless photographs of bishop Dom Felipe, 
who's arrived by helicopter for a visit to the 
Brazilian agricultural town of Cascatas do 
Pontal. Faithful villagers and political protesters 
are both out in force when the bishop is killed 
by a covert assassin's high-powered rifle. The 
case falls to brooding Mario Silva, Chief 
Inspector for Criminal Matters, headquartered 
in the capital city of Sao Paulo. As the 
investigation moves forward, flashbacks fill in 
the grim past that formed Silva's worldview. 
While he was a college student in the '70s, his 
parents were hijacked by street thugs who raped 
his mother and killed his father. After deciding 
in an instant to enter law enforcement, Silva 
spent the next few years hunting down the men 
who destroyed his parents. He's raised 
eyebrows by making his laconic nephew his 
second in command. Their investigation casts a 
wide net as they explore internal conflicts of the 
clergy, clashes between the church and political 
factions and, courtesy of an elusive street urchin, 
the criminal underbelly of the region. As Silva 
also trades barbs with jaded newspaper editor 
Diana Poli, Gage creates a contemporary 
tapestry of Brazil by detailing the backstories of 
Diana and several others. Gage's debut builds a 
compelling foundation for future Silva cases.

Wilda Williams - Library Journal
Brazil. The name conjures up a seductive image 
of a bikini-clad girl dancing the samba along a 
Rio beach. But it is also a country with deep-
rooted social and political problems, where less 
than one percent of the population owns half the 
arable land, where the wealthy live in gated, 
guarded luxury while the poor are crammed 
into squalid favelas, or shantytowns, and where 
corrupt local police enforce their own laws. 
Against this backdrop, Gage, who lived in Brazil 
for many years, sets his debut mystery, a 
gripping and brutal tale of murder and 
vengeance. When a sniper's bullet cuts down a 
bishop in an agricultural town in the state of S‹o 
Paulo, Chief Inspector Mario Silva of the 
Brazilian Federal Police is ordered to investigate. 
Was the bishop, who disapproved of liberation 
theology, assassinated by a radical priest 
seeking to redistribute land to the poor, or was 
he killed by powerful landowners offended by 
his sermon condemning the recent gruesome 
murder of an activist and his family? The body 
count rises, as Silva and his team find their 
probe hampered by crooked cops, ambitious 
reporters, and missing witnesses. Sensitive 
readers, be warned: there are graphic scenes of 
horrific violence. But Gage's inspector is a 
fascinating character, a man who once 
dispensed his own brand of Brazilian justice 
now charged with upholding the law of the 
land. Highly recommended.

About the Author (from Wikipedia).	 
Leighton Gage (born 1942) is an author of crime 
fiction best known for the Chief Inspector Mario 
Silva Investigations series of novels set in Brazil. 
He was inspired to write these novels after spending 
over 20 years living in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and being 
immersed in the Brazilian culture. The subjects in 
his novels are often real problems that exist in 
Brazil today, problems that are foreign to the 
American culture.

Gao Zhisheng

by Joyce Wolf

Gao Zhisheng, Group 22's adopted Prisoner of 
Conscience, is a featured case in a new Amnesty 
International report titled "Against the Law: 
Crackdown on China's Human Rights Lawyers 
Deepens." Download the report at 

The report is 65 pages long, but even a quick 
glance through it will help to establish context 
for the story of Gao Zhisheng. An independent 
legal profession first began to emerge in China 
after the passage of the Lawyers Law in 1996, 
which defined the role of lawyers as providing a 
service to society and defending the legitimate 
rights and interests of their clients. However, 
within the last several years, the Chinese 
Communist Party has attempted to impose 
control over the actions of lawyers. The Ministry 
of Justice issued an Opinion in 2010 that 
included four principles (the Four Constants), 
one of which states "Constantly ensure 
Communist Party leadership of lawyers' work 
and organizations."

The few hundred lawyers in China (out of a 
total of 240,000) that take on human rights 
cases are threatened with loss of their licenses 
and are subject to discrimination and 
harassment, in some cases imprisonment, torture 
and disappearance. The Amnesty report cites 
39 cases, including Dalian lawyer Wang 
Yonghang, who received a 7-year sentence as a 
result of defending a Falun Gong practitioner 
(the husband of Group 22 member Lulu).

Radio Free Asia has a poignant interview with 
Gao Zhisheng's wife. "His brother has put out 
missing person notices. He wanted me to post 
them online.  I have them right here. I'll read it to 
you. Missing Person. Gao Zhisheng. Aged 49. 
Han Chinese. Height: one meter, eighty 
centimeters (five feet, nine inches). Native of 
Beijing. Traveled back to his ancestral home for 
the grave-sweeping festival, to visit his mother's 
grave, in February 2010."

Please help us take action for Gao Zhisheng. 
Visit on Group 
22's website.


by Cheri Dellelo

United Nations Population Fund in Jeopardy
(from Pathfinder International)
 Women's health continues to be a target for 
family planning and reproductive health 
opponents in Congress. Recently, a bill was 
introduced in the House of Representatives that 
would permanently eliminate U.S. funding for 
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). 
UNFPA is a critical organization working in 
more than 150 countries to provide the most 
vulnerable and marginalized women with 
healthcare services. UNFPA's programs help 
women deliver healthy babies and survive 
delivery, enable couples to determine the number 
and spacing of their children, and prevents the 
spread of HIV and AIDS and other sexually 
transmitted infections. It also promotes gender 
equality and combats violence against women. 
UNFPA and women worldwide need your help. 
Contact your Representative now to support 
this vital organization - 

Help Prevent Child Marriage
(from GirlUp/United Nations Foundation and 
National Geographic)
Child marriage is a human rights 
violation. Tragically, 1 in 7 girls in developing 
countries is married by age 15Ñoften to a man 
twice her age or older. Child brides are often 
separated from friends and family and are 
denied an education. They are also at higher risk 
for violence, HIV, and death during pregnancy 
or childbirth. There will be more than 100 million 
child brides in the next decade if we don't act 
now. It is critical that the U.S. continues to work 
in partnership with local communities, leaders, 
governments, and the United Nations to 
address the rights and needs of girls. Please ask 
the Obama administration to

- Develop a strategy to help partner countries 
prevent child marriage, 
- Support programs and policies that prevent 
child marriage, and 
- Monitor and report on efforts to end child 

You can do so by signing Girl Up's petition, 
which they will deliver to the White House later 
this summer -

You can also learn more child brides in a recent 
National Geographic article	 
( and you can find 
out more about organizations that are 
encouraging families to delay marriage and give 
girls an opportunity to reach their full potential 
in their follow-up piece at	 

Suspected Poisoning at Property of Women of 
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
(from FrontLine)
 Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) is a civic 
group formed in 2003 to empower women to 
take leadership roles in the community and 
stand up for their rights. On June 22, members of 
the group were rushed to the hospital with 
symptoms of poisoning following a visit to a 
property used for WOZA meetings in the 
suburbs of Bulawayo. The property had been 
vacated the previous day by the Zimbabwe 
Republic Police under the terms of an order of 
the High Court of Bulawayo of June 20, 2011, 
after a 12-day occupation that occurred without 
the presentation of a warrant. The premises 
were found damaged, some items were missing, 
and suspicious articles planted inside the house. 
When members of WOZA reentered the house 
soon after the occupation to verify the state of 
the property, they were reportedly overcome by 
a pungent smell of chemicals and three of them 
immediately felt dizzy and nauseous, so they 
decided to leave. The next day, they went back 
into the house but reported feeling unwell again 
and eight members were brought to the hospital 
with dizziness, vomiting, diarrhea, and fainting. 
After being discharged from the hospital, they 
sent a letter of complaint to the police and the 
court. In addition to their suspicions of 
dangerous chemicals being planted, WOZA 
reported that some documents and two mobile 
phones were missing from the premises and that 
cards which Amnesty International members 
had sent to WOZA were removed from their 
envelopes and replaced with condoms. 

It is believed that the suspected chemical 
planting and disturbances at the premises used 
by WOZA are directly related to the 
organization's work in defense of human rights, 
and WOZA fears that a court case and other 
forms of recrimination may be launched against 
them for their reporting of this recent incident. 
At the following link, you can find a letter that 
you can send to the president of Zimbabwe, 
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, asking that the health, 
safety, and rights of the members of WOZA be 
protected -


By Stevi Carroll

Amnesty International says that at least 2,500 
people are serving sentences of life without the 
possibility of parole for crimes they committed 
when they were under 18.  Amnesty doesn't 
know of any other countries to render this 

According to the National Institute of Mental 
Health, our brains are not fully developed until 
we're 25 and the last part to develop is the 
frontal lobe, where the "executive functions"of 
planning, impulse control and reasoning are 
located.  In other words, along with the old 
nature/nurture thing is simply the number of 
years our brains take to understand fully how to 
be reasonable with our impulse control.  

Jordan Brown is one of those kids who faces life 
without the possibility of parole for a crime he 
allegedly committed when he was 11.  He is 
being tried as an adult for the murder of his 
father's fiancŽe and her fetus.  Judge Dominick 
Motto made this decision because Jordan Brown 
failed to admit guilt.  Two psychologists 
testified that he was an unlikely candidate for 
rehabilitation because he failed to take 
responsibility for his actions.  He says he's 
innocent, and his father supports him in this 
assertion.  He's scheduled for court on August 5, 
2011.  He's been held in custody for over two 

Amnesty had an urgent action for Jordan 
Brown, but its cutoff date has passed.  A petition 
is available at


By Stevi Carroll

Death Penalty on the Way Out In California?

State Senator Loni Hancock introduced SB 490, a 
bill to ask voters to repeal the death penalty.  
One statistic Senator Hancock uses is the $184 
million dollars a year we spend to keep 714 
inmates on death row.  I am not comfy with 
math, but I think that comes out to $257,703.00 
per inmate on death row per year.  The average 
cost of housing an inmate in the general 
population is $47,000.00 per year.  By a slim 
margin, Californians support life without 
possibility for parole over the death penalty.  

Here's a message from James Clark, 
ACLU/LACCDPA (Los Angeles County 
Coalition for Death Penalty Alternatives):

We're working hard to pass SB 490, which 
would put death penalty repeal on the 2012 
ballot, but we need your help!
Please sign this petition on and share 
it with your friends! 

Andrew DeYoung

The last man to be executed before I wrote this 
column is Andrew DeYoung.  That the state of 
Georgia executed someone is not extraordinary.  
The video tape made during the execution is.

Although Mr. DeYoung was scheduled to be 
executed on July 20th, his death sentence was 
carried out on July 21st after the State tried to 
block the video recording of it.  A Fulton County 
judge gave the go ahead and the Georgia 
Supreme Court concurred.  Inmate Gregory 
Walker requested the video taping to show how 
the new three-drug procedure using 
pentobarbital doesn't sedate the condemned 
person to alleviate pain and suffering.  Georgia 
governor Nathan Deal deferred to the decision 
of the courts, but said he had 'grave 
reservations' about the recording of executions.

My first thought when I saw the headline with 
"execution video taped" was 'hello YouTube, 
here comes a viral multimillion-hit clip.' Because 
the video is evidence in a case, it is 'under seal 
by the court'.    I hope that means no yahoo can 
'liberate' it and create his 15 minutes of fame.  
That would have to be a crime.  Mr. DeYoung 
died at 8:04 PM.  He's reported to have blinked 
his eyes and swallowed for about two minutes, 
closed his eyes, and became still.  I wonder what 
the video shows.

Roy Blankenship

Roy Blankenship's execution may shed some 
light on how pentobarbital performs as a 
substitute for sodium thiopental in the three-
drug lethal injection. The follow quote is from 
an article by Bob Johnson, an AP reporter in 
Montgomery, Alabama:  
 "As the injection began, Blankenship jerked his 
head toward his left arm and began rapidly 
blinking. He then lurched toward his right arm, 
lunging twice with his mouth wide open as if he 
were gasping for air. A minute later, he pushed 
his head forward while mouthing inaudible 
words. His eyes never closed.
The movements stopped within three minutes, 
and he was declared dead 12 minutes later."

While some people think this reaction may be in 
response to pentobarbital or for some other 
cause, Dr. Howard Nearman the chair of the 
anesthesiology department at Case Western 
Reserve University's medical school is quoted as 
saying, "And he could have been faking it.  
Anything's possible."

Since I read that statement, I've been trying my 
best to imagine what it would be like to be 
strapped down to a gurney, have a needle put in 
my vein, know the solution that is going to stop 
my breath and heart has begun seeping into my 
bloodstream, and put on a demonstration like 
the one described above.

As lawyers begin to invoke Roy Blankenship's 
case in court findings as evidence about the use 
of pentobarbital's possible violation of the ban 
on cruel and unusual punishment, officials in 
Georgia want to figure out what may have gone 
wrong.  No new executions are scheduled.

Drugs for State-Sanctioned Death

Remember a few months ago when Hospira Inc., 
the company that made sodium thiopental, said 
it would stop making the drug because its 
manufacturer in Italy objected since the EU has 
banned the death penalty?  Image that -- a 
company that won't make money because of 
some moral pact a union of countries made that 
says its member won't commit state-sanctioned 

Now we have those pesky Danes.  
Representatives from Lundbeck, the Danish 
company that manufactures pentobarbital 
(Nembutal), said in a statement that it 
"adamantly opposes the distressing misuse of 
our product in capital punishment."  States that 
do execute using lethal injection will have access 
to this drug on a restricted basis.  The drug is 
also used to euthanize animals such as dogs and 
cats.  To keep buyers from redistributing 
pentobarbital to states for use in executions, 
entities that purchase it must give a written 
agreement not to redistribute.

Lundbeck's company spokesperson Mada 
Kronborg said people at the company were 
'shocked and outraged' to find out their drug 
was being used to execute people.  Maybe the 
media are thorough in Denmark because Mr. 
Kronborg said it was through the media he 
learned pentobarbital was used in executions.  
He said if they had known, they would have 
said no to this use.  

I look forward to seeing in what country the 
manufacture of sodium pentobarbital lands and 
how it's distributed.  I'm sure the free market 
will fill this void.  Of course, an entirely new 
execution protocol may evolve for the states and 
the federal governments.  

Mark Stroman 

Texan Mark Stroman's is the penultimate 
execution before I wrote this column.  After the 
September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade 
Center in New York, Mr. Stroman took justice 
into his own hands and killed two men and 
wounded another.  What makes this execution 
noteworthy is Rais Bhuiyan, the survivor.  Even 
though the shooting left him blind in one eye, he 
sued, unsuccessfully, to stop the execution.  He 
said his Muslim beliefs instructed him to forgive 
Mr. Stroman.

Forgiveness Isn't Easy

Murder is the main reason most people in the 
United States are sentenced to death. National 
Public Radio has a series called StoryCorps.  
People talk with each other about important, 
usually personal, events that are recorded as 
oral histories of regular people.  July 21, 2011, I 
was sitting on the living room floor, reading the 
paper and drinking coffee when I tuned in to the 
story playing from my radio.  Mary Johnson and 
Oshea Israel were having a StoryCorps 

Oshea Israel and Mary Johnson had their first 
face-to-face conversation in Stillwater Prison 
where Mr. Israel was serving a sentence for 
killing Laramiun Byrd, Ms Johnson's only son. 
After 12 years and many requests to Mr. Israel, 
Ms Johnson visited Mr. Israel and told him 
about her son.  Mr. Israel said Mr. Byrd became 
human to him at that time.  When this meeting 
ended, they embraced. Ms Johnson knew she 
had hugged her son's killer and forgiven him.  
What followed were many prison visits.

Ms Johnson's forgiveness of Mr. Israel was hard 
for him because he had been unable to forgive 
himself.  Now that Mr. Israel is out of prison, 
they live next door to each other.  They have 
developed a familial relationship.  Ms Johnson 
hopes through Mr. Israel she will be able to 
experience those touchstones of life like 
graduation and marriage that she cannot 
experience with her natural son.

The conversation ends with 
"I love you, lady."
"I love you too, son."

To read or hear this entire conversation, to go

Humberto Leal-Garcia

Intervention from the Obama administration 
and many other legal and foreign policy experts 
could not stop the execution of Humberto Leal-
Garcia.  Their concerns were that international 
law may be violated and the legal rights of 
Americans traveling or living outside the US 
could be jeopardized.  Humberto Leal-Garcia is 
the 29th foreign national to be executed in the 
United States since the death penalty was 
reinstated in 1976. Manuel Valle, a Cuban 
national, is scheduled to be executed in Florida 
August 2, 2011.  For an online Amnesty urgent 
action, go to

Stays of Executions

June 2011
15	John Balentine		Texas		
16	Ricky Gray		Virginia	
22	Frank Williams, Jr.	Arkansas	
23	Roy Blankenship		Georgia	
Stay lifted - executed.

July 2011
12	Marcel Williams	Arkansas	
19	Kenneth Smith	Ohio		


June 2011
21	Milton Mathis		32
		Lethal Injection
		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

23	Roy Blankenship		55
		Lethal Injection
		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

30	Richard Bible		49
		Lethal Injection
		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

July 2011
7	Humberto Leal-Garcia   38
		Lethal Injection
		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

19	Thomas West		52
		Lethal Injection
		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

20	Mark Stroman		41
		Lethal Injection
		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

21	Andrew DeYoung		37
		Lethal Injection
		3-drug w/ pentobarbital

POC              11
UAs              15
Women's Rights    2
Total            28
To add your letters to the total contact

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