Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XX Number 7, July 2012


 UPCOMING EVENTS

  Thursday, July 26, 7:30 PM. Monthly Meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, Tyson
House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena. (This is just south of the corner with San
Pasqual. Signs will be posted.) We will be planning our activities for the
coming months. Please join us! Refreshments provided.

  Tuesday, August 14, 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, Aug. 19, 2:30-5:30 PM. See below!

  Sunday, August 19, 6:30 PM.  Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion
group. We're following our established tradition for the month of August and
reading a mystery, "The Case of the Missing Servant" by Tarquin Hall.



SPECIAL EVENT: HOUSE PARTY

What:   Time to raise awareness and funds for 
	Proposition 34 to replace the death
 	penalty on the November 2012 ballot

When:  Sunday, August 19, 2012, 2:30 - 5:30 PM

Where: Laura's house & garden
	For location information: 
	Stevi - pax2u@aol.com
	or Laura - lauragbrown@sbcglobal.net
	Plenty of street parking 

Why:   Drinks, snacks, information, raffle, 
	and more. See you there!
	Need more information? 
	Contact Stevi - pax2u@aol.com 


COORDINATOR'S CORNER

Group 22 is focusing on California's campaign to replace the death penalty.
Lucas and Candy attended a strategy meeting July 14 with organizer Tommy Watts.
Stevi and Laura have planned the house party event above. Please join us Aug.
19, and remember to invite your friends!

Kathy is on vacation this week. Best wishes to her and Robert for a great trip,
and we'll look forward to her column next month.
					-Joyce


RIGHTS READERS
Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com


Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, August 19, 
6:30 pm 

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado, Pasadena

The Case of the Missing Servant

By Tarquin Hall


[The following review is quoted from http://blog.vishpuri.com]

Modern day India provides the bustling setting for THE CASE OF THE MISSING
SERVANT, the first in a new series of mysteries featuring the idiosyncratic
Punjabi private investigator Vish Puri. A methodical if unconventional sleuth,
Puri combines the observational skills of Hercule Poirot, the deductive
reasoning of Sherlock Holmes, and the cultural intuition of Alexander McCall
Smith's Precious Ramotswe to solve a spate of crimes in a "new" India that in
many ways still clings to its caste-defined traditions.

The founder and managing director of Most Private Investigators, Ltd., Puri is
proud of his achievements and not shy to take credit for them. But despite his
boasting, he is a gentle and ethical man, well regarded by his family, friends,
and employees. In a nation where marriages are arranged, much of Puri's work is
matrimonial - quietly investigating prospective brides and grooms on behalf of
concerned relatives - but he thirsts for bigger cases that require his special
skills in clandestine investigation. Puri gets such an opportunity when he is
hired by Ajay Kasiwal, an influential attorney from Jaipur accused of the
disappearance of his servant, a young woman named Mary. Originally assuming the
girl ran off to her village, the police now believe Mary was murdered - and
that her former employer is the culprit. Kasiwal wants Puri to find the girl in
order to prove his innocence.

Before he has the chance to travel to Jaipur, however, Puri encounters his own
brush with violence. While tending to his roof garden, Puri is ambushed by a
sniper. He escapes unharmed, but the incident sends his typically well-ordered
household into an uproar. Soon - and against Puri's explicit orders - his mother,
a retired schoolteacher with a penchant for bridge, has taken it upon herself to
investigate the shooting in an attempt to discover who is after her son. Fearing
for his mother's safety, Puri is adamant that he, not his mother, is the 
investigator in the family. But Mummy-ji fails to heed her son's edict.

As he juggles his caseload, Puri sends one of his staff undercover into the
Kasiwal household. A beautiful and feisty Nepali woman who goes by the codename
"Facecream," the operative poses as a servant in order to learn the truth about
Mary. But soon after, Kasliwal is arrested and charged with the missing girl's
murder. Believing he is innocent, Puri must act quickly before his client
becomes mired in India's notoriously protracted justice system.

As he doles out the surprising pieces of a delightful puzzle, Tarquin Hall- who
lives part-time in Delhi and is married to an Indian-born wife- brilliantly
captures the zeitgeist of contemporary India, from its fast-growing high-rise
"sectors" filled with high tech workers of globalization, to the genteel
vestiges of the British Raj. In a society that thrives on class distinction and
polite, if circuitous, discourse, Hall's Vish Puri uses charm, instinct, and no
small measure of subterfuge, to work system and uncover what he ultimately needs
to know. Western readers are sure to embrace this complex and endearing new
detective, which Booklist raved in a starred review "immediately joins the No. 1
Ladies' Detective Agency as representing the best in international cozies."


About Tarquin Hall
Tarquin Hall began his travels at the age of 18, shunning further education and
heading for the USA where he worked as a cowboy on a Texas cutting horse ranch.
From there he moved to Pakistan and travelled in Afghanistan, his first writing
appearing in The Friday Times. His travels led him on to east Africa where he
landed his first exclusive: an interview with Emma McCunne, an English aid
worker who married a southern Sudanese guerilla commander. A subsequent career
in TV news (firstly for the Associated Press and later as an independent for the
likes of Channel 4 News and the BBC) took him to a number of conflict zones in
Africa, South Asia & the Middle East. Hall has also contributed features and
reviews to the Times, Sunday Times and Guardian, as well as numerous magazines
including Marie Claire and The New Statesman. He's also the author of three works
of non-fiction, incuding the highly acclaimed 'Salaam Brick Lane'. He now lives
in New Delhi with his wife and young son.

 2012 Sacred Cow Media Ltd. All rights reserved.


EFFORTS TO END THE 13 YEARS OF PERSECUTION TOWARDS FALUN GONG IN CHINA
by Wen Chen

I visited Washington DC July 11 - 16. Ever since the Chinese Communist regime's
persecution of Falun Gong started in 1999, I have been coming to DC almost every
summer to join the international efforts to end the persecution.

Falun Gong is also known as Falun Dafa. It is a peaceful body and mind exercise
based on the principle of Truth-Compassion-Tolerance. Falun Dafa is famous for
its health benefits and improvement of morality. After it was introduced to
public in 1992, Falun Dafa quickly spread to more than 100 countries, with ~100
million people practicing it in China. Because of its popularity, and
independence from the communism ideology, the Chinese Communist Party banned
this exercise and started large scale crackdown on July 20, 1999, incuding media
attacks and massive arrests. As of today, more than 3,500 deaths were confirmed
because of the persecution, but this is probably just a tip of iceberg because of
the information blockage in China.

My friends and I visited our representatives on Capitol Hill. Two ladies from
Taiwan joined us, because their family member, Mr. Chung Ting-Pang, was arrested
and detained when he visited his hometown in China last month. His case had
already been taken by Amnesty International as an Urgent Action. We hope the
U.S. Congress can help the release of Mr. Chung. 

http://www.amnestyusa.org/get-involved/take-action-now/china-taiwanese-falun-gon
g-practitioner-detained-ua-20112

On July 12, a rally was held at the west lawn of the Captol Hill, with more than
1,000 Falun Gong practitioners and many supporters from the Congress, and human
rights organizations. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher from Orange County gave a
short but touching speech. "In our soul and heart, we realize that in
truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, you are standing for the goodness in
the universe. But you are confronted with one of the worst evils that this
humankind has ever experienced", Rohrabacher said. "Those of us with liberty are
grateful to you for your courage, and we will stand in solidarity with you ... I
can assure you that in the hearts of the American people, we are with you, will
stand with you, and are grateful to you for what you're doing." he said.

Friday night we joined the candlelight vigil in front of the Washington
Monument. Five thousand Falun Gong practitioners laid out the Chinese characters
for "Truth-Compassion-Tolerance". When the music "Please Sit Next to Me"
started, I could not stop my tears. It has been 13 years, I cannot imagine how
much people suffered in China. The practice of Falun Dafa gave us courage to
continue. We are happy to see more and more Chinese people awaken from the lies
of the Chinese communist party. Nowadays, more than 120 million Chinese people
already withdrew from the CCP and its affiliated organizations. The House
Resolution 416 in the Congress supports this movement, and condemns the
persecution towards prisoners of conscience in China. Please write to your
representatives and ask them to support H.R. 416.

We also got supports from local government officials in California. On July 17,
city of Carson unanimously passed a resolution to condemn the human rights
violation towards Falun Gong in China. They will send this resolution to
Congresswomen Janice Hahn, Laura Richardson, Maxine Waters, as well as Amnesty
International office in San Francisco. 


PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE
Gao Zhisheng
by Joyce Wolf

I have not seen anything new this past month regarding the status of Gao
Zhisheng, Group 22's adopted prisoner of conscience, now detained in China's
remote Shaya Prison after enduring years of enforced disappearance and brutal
torture. 

The organization China Aid marks its tenth anniversary July 24 with a human
rights seminar and award ceremony in Washington.
"ChinaAid is authorized to announce the winners of the Chinese Human Rights
Lawyers Association's "Ten Best Human Rights Defense Lawyers Award." This
association was founded in Beijing in May 2010. Each winner will receive a
certificate and 6,000 yuan (about $1,000). Each of these ten lawyers has been
persecuted through imprisonment, torture, kidnapping or hooding with a black bag
-- some for a few weeks, others for years -- because of their work for religious
freedom, the rule of law and human rights. [Gao Zhisheng's name leads the list.]
Geng He, the wife of attorney Gao Zhisheng, is to receive the award on her
husband's behalf and make some remarks."
www.standardnewswire.com/news/662367459.html

Gao Zhisheng began defending Falun Gong practitioners in 2004. The publication
of his Open Letters about the persecution of this group was followed soon
afterward by the suspension of his law license in November 2005.

You can mail him cards of support at 
Gao Zhisheng, Shaya Prison 
P.O. Box 15, Sub-box 16 
Shaya County, Aksu Prefecture 
Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, 842208 
People's Republic of China


DEATH PENALTY NEWS
By Stevi Carroll

SAFE California Campaign

The campaign has a number!  Proposition 34 is ready for the ballot come
November.  

To support the SAFE California Campaign, AI Group 22 is hosting a house party on
Sunday, Aug. 19, from 2:30 to 5:30 at Laura's house. (See announcement on first
page of this newsletter.) 

For more information, contact Stevi at pax2u@aol.com. We hope to see both our
Amnesty friends and new friends at this event.  Pass the word!

The 1,300 Mark

June 27, 2012, marked the 1,300th execution in the United States since the death
penalty resumed on January 17, 1977.  Samuel Lopez was put to death in Florence,
Arizona, with the one-drug lethal injection of pentobarbital.  He was sentenced
to death in 1987.

In an article by Rick Halperin, the clemency board members are quoted as calling
Mr. Lopez "the worst of the worst."  Mr. Halperin discusses the testimony of a
neuropsychiatrist that told of the extenuating circumstances of Mr. Lopez' life
that included a "childhood ... filled with poverty, neglect, abuse and periods
of homelessness during which he often had to sleep in cemeteries. Lopez dropped
out of school in the ninth grade and became addicted to sniffing paint."  Mr.
Lopez' paint sniffing addiction was so great "he would forget entire days" and
had no memory of his crime.

Mr. Lopez' execution is the 23rd in the United States in 2012 and the 1,300rd
since 1977. Also since 1977, we have seen 140 people released from death row in
the United States because they have been exonerated due to DNA or confessional
evidence.

Supremes Rule on Life Without Parole for Juvenile Murders

While this decision is not directly a death penalty issue, it does follow
Supreme Court rulings that have removed the death penalty for juveniles and life
without parole for young people who commit crimes other than murder.  In late
June , the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision ruled that mandatory life without
parole for convicted murderers who are under 18 at the time they commit their
crimes is cruel and unusual punishment.  This does not mean juvenile offenders
will not be sentenced to LWOP, but it does mean it will be at the discretion of
judges.

Ohio Governor Commutes Death Sentence

John Eley was sentenced to be executed on July 26, but Governor John Kasich
commuted his sentence to life without the possibility of parole on July 10.  

Governor Kasich said, "The murder of Ihsan Aydah was a heinous act that warrants
severe punishment. In participating in the murder, John Jeffrey Eley, who has
limited mental capacity, acted under the direction of another man who was later
acquitted. ...Without those factors it is doubtful that Eley would have
committed this crime. Additionally, the former Mahoning County prosecutor who
tried Eley's case now regrets the way the case was handled and its outcome, and
has called for clemency. The combined weight of these facts leads me to commute
Eley's sentence to life in prison without parole." 

Execution
June
27	Samuel Lopez		
	Arizona	1-drug lethal injection


GROUP 22 MONTHLY LETTER COUNT
UAs     17
Total   17
To add your letters to the total contact lwkamp@gmail.com.
   


Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125
www.its.caltech.edu/~aigp22/
http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com