Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XX Number10, October 2012


Thursday, October 25, 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.

Sunday, October 28, 2 pm. Liu Xiaobo book 
event (non-AI). Pacific Asia Museum, 46 Los 
Robles, Pasadena. See following article.

Tuesday, November 13, 7:30 PM.  Letter 
writing meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner 
of Hill and California in Pasadena. The 
Rathskeller is in the Athenaeum basement; 
take the stairs to the right of the main 
entrance. Look for the table with the Amnesty 
sign. Please join us to write actions on human-
rights violations around the world. This 
informal gathering is a great way for 
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty!   

Sunday, November 18, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
group. This month we discuss "Stasiland: 
Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall" by Anna 


This month Group 22 members have been active 
in the electoral process as Stevi, Rob, and others 
have done phone-banking for Proposition 34, 
the initiative that would convert the death 
penalty in California to LWOP (Life without 
Parole).  The election is less than 2 weeks away 
- have you been watching the debates?  Who do 
you think will win?  I can't tell you how to vote 
- the important thing is to vote!

People around the world were horrified and 
outraged when a high-school girl was shot in 
Pakistan by the Taliban for her activism in favor 
of education for girls.  Malala Yousafazai 
miraculously survived the attack and is 
recovering in a hospital in Britain.  Two of her 
classmates were also injured in the attack on her 
school bus.

Latest reports have her being able to stand with 
assistance and write.  She is unable to speak 
because she has a tracheostomy.  Doctors 
expect her to recover without major neurological 
deficits.  Please keep this lovely young girl and 
her family in your thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to express your support for 
Malala and her classmates, Amnesty has an 
action and here is a link:

Con carino,

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, Nov. 18,  6:30 pm 
Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado, Pasadena

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall
by Anna Funder

STASILAND (reviewed on April 15, 2003)

Sydney-based Funder's impressive debut crisply 
renders her pursuit of East Berlin's ghosts.
When she was writer-in-residence at the 
Australia Center in Potsdam, the author became 
fascinated by the uneasy truce former East 
Germans kept with their recent Communist past, 
which was literally all around. The German 
Democratic Republic's surveillance apparatus, 
run by the Stasi (secret police), was more 
pervasive than elsewhere in the Eastern Bloc; 
many people became informers, while others 
had their lives ruined for minor infractions. 
Funder befriended several survivors, such as 
Miriam, who was arrested at 16 in 1968 for 
anti-authoritarian pranks; fearing prison, she 
attempted to cross the Berlin Wall, served time, 
and was persecuted for years. (Eventually her 
lover died, mysteriously, in custody.) A couple 
the author met had nearly lost their sick child, 
who was at a better hospital in West Berlin; her 
landlady was barely able to acknowledge what 
turned out to be a history of twisted treatment 
by the Stasi. Similar trials are recalled with 
cocky humor by survivors like Klaus Renft, once 
a naive underground rock star whose band 
provided youthful GDR residents with 
"something authentic and unauthorised." 

Funder also sought out ex-Stasi workers willing 
to tell their stories; she had a memorably bizarre 
encounter with Herr von Schnitzler, a despised 
pioneer of televised propaganda who defended 
the regime with undiminished vitriol. Funder 
shrewdly blends memoir elements with these 
personal histories and casts an attentive eye on 
the decrepit landscape with its haunting traces 
of the old regime, most dramatically expressed 
by the official effort to untangle the Stasi's 
paper trail: an office of so-called "puzzle 
women" working to restore shredded documents 
in an effort projected to take 375 years. The 
former GDR may be out of the news these days, 
but Funder's fully humanized portrait of the 
Stasi's tentacles reads like a warning of 
totalitarian futures to come.

Colorful, intensely observed, well executed, with 
lots of black humor and disturbing undertones.

About the Author
Anna Funder is an Australian writer who grew 
up in Melbourne. She has worked as an 
international lawyer specializing in human rights 
and constitutional law. She is the prizewinning 
author of Stasiland: Stories from Behind the 
Berlin Wall, which has been published in twenty 
countries and translated into sixteen languages. 
In 2004 Stasiland won the BBC Samuel Johnson 
Prize, the most prestigious nonfiction award in 
the United Kingdom. All That I Am is her first 
novel. Anna Funder lives in Brooklyn with her 
husband and children. (

Sunny SoCal in The Barbarian Nurseries
by Stevi Carroll

Sunday, October 21, 2012, Rights Readers met at 
Vroman's to discuss The Barbarian Nurseries by 
Hector Tobar.  A few minutes into our 
discussion, Hector Tobar joined us.  What a 

Not only did we learn that the Torres-Thompson 
children are based on Hector's own sons and 
daughter, but that the gritty, very real people 
and descriptions come from Hector's 
experiences as a reporter for the LA Times.   He 
is a writer who enjoys his characters, their 
experiences and the settings in which they find 

Currently, Hector's working on two more books, 
one a historical novel about the trapped Chilean 
miners and another about a man who wanted to 
write a novel so he lived the life of a novel but 
was never able to write the novel.  Both books 
sound like they are right down our Amnesty alley.

Liu Xiaobo Book Event 

Visual Artists Guild and Pacific Asia Museum
Cordially Invites you to:

No Enemies, No Hatred:
Selected Essays and Poems by Liu Xiaobo
A program with co-editor Perry Link
Sunday, October 28, 2012 at 2 p.m.
Pacific Asia Museum,
46 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, 
California 91101

Liu Xiaobo is a Chinese writer and human rights 
activist. Winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, 
Liu is currently imprisoned in China for his 
writings. This book marks the inaugural English-
language collection of his work. 
Dr. Perry Link, Visual Artists Guild's 2012 
Champion of Freedom of Speech awardee, is 
one of the foremost scholars on China in the 
West.  Dr.  Link is an authority in modern 
Chinese literature and language. An 
international expert on Chinese human rights 
issues, Dr. Link has edited this volume of  Liu 
Xiaobo's writings from the past two decades.  
Dr. Link also translated Charter 08, a manifesto 
for reforms which Liu Xiaobo initiated and 
which became one of the documents China's 
government used to prosecute Liu.  Dr. Link is 
Emeritus Professor of East Asian Studies at 
Princeton and Chancellorial Chair in Humanities 
at the University of California at Riverside. 

The program is free but you need to RSVP 
Pacific Asia Museum at 626-449-2742 to get 
free admission to the Museum. For more 
information, please contact Ann Lau, Visual 
Artists Guild at 310-539-0234

Gao Zhisheng
by Joyce Wolf

The CECC (Congressional-Executive 
Commission on China) released its 2012 Annual 
Report on October 10. The report mentions 
Group 22's adopted prisoner of conscience Gao 

Here are some excerpts from the Statement of 
CECC Chairman Christopher Smith and 
Cochairman Sherrod Brown:

The report recommends that the U.S. Congress 
and President urge China to immediately ratify 
the International Covenant on Civil and Political 
Rights, strengthen the rule of law, enhance 
transparency, engage in dialogue with ethnic 
minorities without preconditions, and release 
political prisoners such as Nobel Peace Prize 
winner Liu Xiaobo and human rights lawyer 
Gao Zhisheng.

"In an egregious miscarriage of justice, 
authorities this past year 'claimed' that the 
missing rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng violated 
the terms of his parole mere days before his 
suspended sentence was to expire," Smith said. 
"Gao and many other political prisoners in 
China languish in jails simply for advocating for 
and exercising their basic human rights. They are 
a testament to how far China must go to be a 
country where rule of law and international 
human rights are respected."

The report observed Chinese leaders more 
concerned with internal Party politics than with 
reform. It found a "deepening disconnect" 
between the growing demands of the Chinese 
people and their government.

"On issue after issue, from revision of China's 
Criminal Procedure Law to the government's 
treatment of Falun Gong practitioners, 
Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, and other 
religious groups, Chinese officials continued to 
err on the side of repression or symbolic half-
measures rather than pursue real, meaningful 
reform," said Smith and Brown.

This statement and a link to the full 2012 report 
are available at 

By Stevi Carroll

Proposition 34

Work continues with phone calls to get out the 
vote to vote YES on Prop 34.  All Saints Church 
provides volunteer opportunities to make phone 
calls Sunday, Monday and Tuesday through 
November 4th.  To sign up, click on and scroll down to 
Pasadena.  People can also call from home.  
This option is offered at the bottom of the page 
at the above link.

Polls show Prop 34 is a close race, so some of 
those undecided or on-the-fence-about-voting 
people could make the difference.  

Many thanks to our group for what we have 
done to support the YES on Proposition 34.

John Edward Smith

September 25, 2012, is a day John Edward 
Smith will remember.  After 19 years in 
Calipatria State Prison for a murder he did not 
commit, Mr. Smith was released.  The one eye 
witness, Landu Mvuemba, who led to his 
conviction was critically wounded at the time of 
the murder of DeAnthony Williams and 
identified Mr. Smith two months after the 
incident.  Mr. Mvuemba later recanted his 
testimony saying he'd been pressured by the 
police to identify Mr. Smith. At the time of Mr. 
Smith's arrest, he was a gang member, something 
that may have influenced his conviction.

Mr. Smith's grandmother, Laura Neal, regularly 
traveled from Mid City Los Angeles to the 
prison near the Salton Sea to visit him.  In recent 
years, these trips were more difficult because Ms 
Neal became ill.

Mr. Smith said he has no bitterness and looks 
forward to spending time with his family.

To see a brief news report, go to

Terrance Williams

Last month Terrance Williams was waiting to be 
executed on October 3 for murdering a man who 
sexually abused him.  On October 2, Mr. 
Williams received a stay of execution due in 
large part to the tenacity of Judge Teresa 
Sarmina.  Judge Sarmina examined the trial 
notes from 26 years ago and found that 
information about Amos Norwood's history of 
fondling teenage boys, including Mr. Norwood, 
had been withheld by the prosecution.  Because 
of this, members of the jury found no mitigating 
circumstances when deciding on the death 
penalty.  The Philadelphia District Attorney has 
appealed this ruling to the Pennsylvania 
Supreme Court.  Mr. Williams will spend life in 
prison without parole, or a new jury will decide 
his fate regarding the death penalty.

Damon A. Thibodeaux

Damon A. Thibodeaux left the Louisiana State 
Penitentiary the end of September 2012 after 15 
years on death row for a murder DNA evidence 
proved he did not commit.  After a nine-hour 
interrogation, Mr. Thibodeaux, then 23, 
confessed to the rape and murder of his 14-
year-old step-cousin.  Because interrogations are 
not videotaped, what transpired during his 
confession is unclear.  What is clear at his point 
is that DNA and other evidence exonerated him 
and he is now free.  Since 2000, six people have 
been released from Louisiana's death row.  Mr. 
Thibodeaux is the 300th person nationwide to 
be exonerated through post-conviction DNA 

Amnesty Online Action

Stop the Execution of Bobby Hines in Texas

Mr. Hines is scheduled to be executed on 
October 24, but I did not see his name on the 
calendars I use for execution information.  
Please check the website to see if this is still a 
valid online action.

Stays of Execution

2	Terrance Williams        Pennsylvania
9	Terry Ray Chamberlain    Pennsylvania
10	Andre Staton		 Pennsylvania
11	David Richard Ramtahal   Pennsylvania
18	Anthony Haynes	         Texas
23	John Ferguson		 Florida 


25	Cleve Foster		 Texas
			one-drug lethal injection

10	Jonathan Green	         Texas
			one-drug lethal injection
15	Eric Robert *		 South Dakota	
			one-drug lethal injection

* volunteer- an inmate who waived ordinary 
appeals that remained at the time of his 

UAs    18
POC     7
Total  25
To add your letters to the total contact

Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125