Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXII Number 5, May 2014

  Thursday, May 22, 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, June 10, 7:30 PM. Letter writing 
meeting at Caltech Athenaeum, corner of Hill 
and California in Pasadena. In the summer we 
meet outdoors at the "Rath al Fresco," on the 
lawn behind the building. This informal 
gathering is a great way for newcomers to get 
acquainted with Amnesty.
  Sunday, June 15, 6:30 PM.  Rights Readers 
Human Rights Book Discussion group. This 
month we read "Burying the Typewriter" by 
Carmen Bugan.


Hi All

Crazy weather we've been having, huh?! At 
least it has cooled down to more "normal" 
weather for this time of year... (All you global 
warming skeptics out there...wake up!)

At our last meeting, several of us took photos 
holding up a birthday card for our Chinese 
POC, Gao Zhisheng.  


You can see all our photos and many others at

Con Cari–o,

Human Rights Book Discussion Group

Keep up with Rights Readers at

Next Rights Readers meeting:
Sunday, June 15, 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore 
695 E. Colorado, Pasadena


Burying the Typewriter: A Memoir

by Carmen Bugan

Winner of the Bakeless Prize for Nonfiction, a 
childhood memoir of political oppression and 
persecution during Romania's Ceausescu 

Carmen Bugan grew up amid the bounty of the 
Romanian countryside on her grandparent's 
farm where food and laughter were plentiful. 
But eventually her father's behavior was too 
disturbing to ignore. He wept when listening to 
Radio Free Europe, hid pamphlets in sacks of 
dried beans, and mysteriously buried and 
reburied a typewriter. When she discovered he 
was a political dissident she became anxious for 
him to conform. However, with her mother in 
the hospital and her sister at boarding school, 
she was alone, and helpless to stop him from 
driving off on one last, desperate protest.

After her father's subsequent imprisonment, 
Bugan was shunned by her peers at school and 
informed on by her neighbors. She candidly 
struggled with the tensions of loving her "hero" 
father who caused the family so much pain. 
When he returned from prison and the family 
was put under house arrest, the Bugans were 
forced to chart a new course for the future. A 
warm and intelligent debut, Burying the 
Typewriter provides a poignant reminder of a 
dramatic moment in Eastern European history.

Author Biography

Carmen Bugan's poetry and prose have 
appeared in Harvard Review, Modern Poetry in 
Translation, PN Review, The Times Literary 
Supplement and her first collection of poems, 
Crossing the Carpathians, was published in 2004 
with Oxford Poets/Carcanet. She was awarded 
a large grant by the Arts Council of England and 
was a Fellow at the Hawthornden International 
Retreat for Writers and until recently she served 
as a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at 
Wolfson College, in the University of Oxford, 
where she ran seminar and lecture series on the 
theory and practice of translation from 2005 
until 2009. She recently completed a second 
collection of poems and a memoir about 
growing up in a family of political dissidents in 
Romania. Carmen Bugan was educated at the 
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), in Ireland, 
and at the University of Oxford where she 
obtained a doctorate for a dissertation on 
Seamus Heaney and East European poetry in 
English translation. She lives in Geneva, 
Switzerland, with her husband and son.

Gao Zhisheng

by Joyce Wolf

Group 22 recently received an update from 
Amnesty for work on the case of Gao Zhisheng, 
our adopted prisoner of conscience. Amnesty 
International's China Team completed their 
review of Gao Zhisheng's case in January of this 
year and issued new recommendations in light 
of his scheduled release this August. "It is 
unclear what will happen to Gao Zhisheng after 
his release, and it is therefore vital that there is 
sustained pressure on the Chinese authorities in 
the lead-up to this date."

Following are guidelines from the new case file 
Please use Chinese characters for Gao 
Zhisheng's name (???)
Write to the President, Premier, Ministry 
of Justice, Ministry of Public Security, 
Ministry of State Security:

*	Urging them to immediately release Gao 
*	Urging them to ensure that as long as he 
remains in detention, Gao has access to 
family, legal representation of his 
choosing, and any medical care he may 
*	Urging them to ensure that as long as he 
remains in detention, Gao is not tortured 
or ill-treated
*	Urging them to ensure that Gao Zhisheng 
does not face any harassment or 
restrictions on his freedom of movement, 
speech and association after he is released 
from prison

Since we began working for Gao Zhisheng in 
March of 2010, we have been mailing letters to 
China's President, Premier, and Minister of 
Justice. So this month let's try someone new, the 
Minister of Public Security, Guo Shengkun. 

(Salutation: Your Excellency)

Guo Shengkun  
14 Dongchang'anjie 
Beijingshi 100741 
People's Republic of China

Copies to:
Ambassador CUI Tiankai
Embassy of the People's Republic of China 
3505 International Place, NW
Washington DC 20008

The AIUSA China co-group calls our attention 
this month to an article on the Amnesty blog 
about Tiananmen. This year marks the 25th 
anniversary of the tragic events.

In 1999 some Group 22 members were at the 10th 
Tiananmen anniversary vigil.
On May 25 a few of us will be attending "Spirit 
of Freedom," the annual commemoration event 
arranged by Ann Lau and the Visual Artists 
Guild. See

By Stevi Carroll

The Eighth Amendment of the US 

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive 
fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment 

Clayton Lockett

Clayton Lockett committed a heinous crime.  
Stephanie Neiman, his victim, was 18 years old 
when Mr. Lockett and two other men, Shawn 
Mathis and Alfonzo LaRon Veasey, beat, 
sexually assaulted, shot and buried Ms Neiman 
alive.  No, Mr. Lockett is not a man who would 
evoke pity.  His execution, however, has caused 
many people to examine not only the means by 
which we in America put people to death but 
also the suitability of the death penalty.

As most of us know, Mr. Lockett was executed 
April 29, 2014, in Oklahoma.  Possibly because 
she is up for reelection this year,  Governor 
Mary Fallin (R) wanted to expedite his 
execution, thus scoring points with pro-death 
penalty voters.  Sixty percent of Americans say 
they favor the death penalty, so this is an 
important electorate.  Governor Fallin is not 
alone in her use of this tactic.  Then Governor 
Bill Clinton, Arkansas, oversaw the execution of 
Ricky Ray Rector in 1992 while Governor 
Clinton was running for president.  Mr. Rector 
had serious brain damage and was executed.  
Governor Clinton won the presidency.  

Mr. Lockett's case presents unsettling aspects of 
executions in the USA.  To begin with, he and 
Charles Warner, another inmate who was to be 
executed April 29, filed suits to find out the 
source and purity of the drugs with which they 
were to be killed.  After a lower court ruling 
found the secrecy law unconstitutional, the 
Oklahoma Supreme Count issued a stay and 
suspended executions until the issues could be 
litigated in court.  Governor Fallin wanted the 
men executed despite the court order, and the 
legislature began impeachment proceedings for 
the Supreme Court justices.

The upshot of this is that Mr. Lockett had reason 
to believe his execution would in fact be painful 
and thus became suicidal.  In the process of 
taking him to be X-rayed to see if he had any 
means by which he could commit suicide 
hidden in a body cavity, guards used a taser on 
him when he refused to be shackled.  He was 
taken to the medical clinic where personnel 
found superficial, self-inflicted wounds on his 
arms suggesting he was attempting to commit 
suicide.  He was put on suicide watch with 
guards checking his cell every 15 minutes.  He 
refused to eat or see his lawyers.  And then he 
was executed.

Because after an hour of searching for a suitable 
vein in which to insert the needle the prison staff 
could not find one, a catheter was inserted in 
Mr. Lockett's femoral artery.  This procedure 
required well-trained medical personnel.  
Perhaps the lack of these personnel is why the 
IV line may have missed the artery or punctured 
it which led to the drugs leaking into the soft 
tissue.  Mr. Lockett then writhed in pain.  After 
16 minutes, warden Anita Trammell had the 
blinds closed so the witnesses could not see, and 
after 43 minutes, Mr.Lockett died of a heart 

Of course, Clayton Lockett's execution lit up the 
news for a cycle or two.  On NBC"s "Meet the 
Press" Governor Rick Perry said, "I don't know 
whether it was inhumane or not, but it was 
botched. There's an appropriate way to deal 
with this and obviously something went terribly 
wrong." The Dallas News has a site called 
"Sounding Off" where people from Irving, 
Texas, posted their thoughts following Mr. 
Lockett's execution.  The prompt was 'Should 
Texas reconsider its execution practices?'  
Governor Perry has some kindred spirits.

Millard Baxley wrote:
"I understand from the news that Tennessee is 
considering a return to use of the electric chair. 
Personally, I would like to see Texas consider 
doing the same. After all, a stiff shot of electrical 
juice might be less expensive to the taxpayers of 
Texas than searching for the right drug to use, 
and who knows? It might even cause a large 
reduction in crimes like this. Maybe, just maybe, 
our prisons would not be filled to overflow 
status if there were not all the public tears and 
hand wringing for the welfare of his kind?"
Steve Stringer wanted efficiency: 
"Lethal injection is most peaceful, but firing 
squad is quick. I know this would be more 
stressful for the condemned, but it would be 
Lee Swann just wanted those 'unfortunate' 
death row inmates dispatched:
"The unfortunate people on death row have, for 
the most part, been there for quite sometime. It 
is now time to carry out the sentence that has 
been handed down. There are those who would 
like to restore 'old sparky' into use."

But surprise surprise, not all Texan voices 
support the death penalty.
Sharon Phares considered:
"Perhaps it is time to reopen the debate 
concerning capital punishment versus life 
imprisonment yet again. There is no easy 
solution for any of us."
Lee Swann summed it up:
"Texas should abolish the death penalty period! 
This latest botched concoction of so-called lethal 
drugs is a wake-up call from the Almighty, in 
my opinion to all of America, that the way we 
kill people using the death penalty is wrong."

In considering the drugs now used in 
executions, the ACLU is on record: " human 
being should be death's guinea pig."  Cassandra 
Stubbs, ACLU Capital Punishment Project, 
points out that Clayton Lockett is just the most 
recent inmate to suffer during his execution.  
Dennis McGuire who was executed in Ohio in 
January 2014 "clenched his fist, heaved, 
struggled, and made horrible noises, according 
to witnesses. He was gasping, choking, and 
snoring in the 25 minutes it took to kill him." 
(After a review, the Ohio prison officials have 
determined that Mr. McGuire was completely 
unconscious and "felt no pain".) Michael Lee 
Wilson, also executed in January of this year, 
cried out during his execution, "'I feel my whole 
body burning.'" In 2012, Eric Robert was 
executed using pentobarbital from a 
compounding pharmacy in South Dakota.  
During his execution, "he gasped heavily, 
snored loudly with his eyes open, and his skin 
turned purple,"  a condition an expert 
pharmacologist said is consistent with 
contaminated drugs.

According to Ms Stubbs, the UN Human Right 
Committee, which monitors compliance with 
the International covenant on Civil and Political 
Rights (ratified by the US in 1992) expressed 
concern with the use of untested drugs and their 
secrecy in the USA's executions.  The committee 
recommended "the U.S. government 'ensure 
that lethal drugs used for executions originate 
from legal, regulated sources, and are approved 
by the United States Food and Drug 
Administration and that information on the 
origin and composition of such drugs is made 
available to individuals scheduled for 

That does not give me much solace.

March 25, 2014, a study, "Rate of False 
Conviction of Criminal Defendants Who Are 
Sentenced to Death," was released.  The authors 
reviewed the outcomes of the 7,482 death 
sentences from 1973 to 2004.  They found that of 
that group, 117 (1.6%) were exonerated.  The 
authors came to believe that with time, at least 
4.1% of the inmates on death row would have 
been exonerated. This means an additional 200 
people would have been cleared of charges.  
One conclusion Samuel Gross, the lead author of 
the study, includes, "The great majority of 
innocent people who are sentenced to death are 
never identified and freed."

The death penalty has many casualties.  Randy 
Workman was the warden of the Oklahoma 
State Penitentiary in McAlester, Oklahoma.  He 
participated in 32 executions in various 
capacities during his twenty years as corrections 
department employee before he retired in 2012.  
Prior to Clayton Lockett's execution he was 
interviewed.  He has come to believe that the 
death penalty is an expensive punishment that 
brings neither a deterrence to crime nor closure 
for the victims' families.  About the death 
penalty he said, "The only thing I can tell you 
for certain whenever people say do you believe 
that the death penalty will stop crime, I can 
guarantee you that person will never commit a 
crime again, and that is as far as I'm going to 
say."  When asked if he thought the victims' 
families felt vindicated, he said, "90% of the time 
the people I've seen don't." When his cousin 
was murdered in 2000, his cousin's mother 
asked Mr. Workman's advice about whether or 
not to seek the death penalty.  His suggestion 
was no.  He pointed out to her that during the 
appeals process, she would have to relive her 
son's death and should the killer be executed, 
she would think the killer died too easily.  When 
Mr. Workman was asked if he thought 
executions should be more painful, he said, "I 
wouldn't be a part of anything like that."  Mr. 
Workman continues to support the death 

Who in America supports the death penalty?

In "Why is secular Europe so much more 
Christian on the death penalty?", Peter Weber 
discusses the differences between attitudes of 
Europeans and Americans toward the death 
penalty with a look at religion.  
We Americans love polls and Mr. Weber 
includes both a Pew poll and a Gallup pol. A 
2013 Pew poll found 55% of Americans are in 
favor of the death penalty while a Gallup poll 
found 60%.  The Gallup poll broke their 
numbers down by political parties with 81% of 
Republicans, 60% of independents, and 47% of 
Democrats in support of capital punishment.  

The Pew poll broke their numbers down by 
religious and racial/ethnic groups. 
				Favor	Oppose
White evangelical  
   Protestants			67%	24%
White mainline 
   Protestants			64%	30%
White Catholic			59%	34%
Unaffiliated			55%	38%
Hispanic Catholic		37%	54%
Black Protestant		33%	58%

White				63%	30%
Hispanic			40%	50%
Black				36%	55%

For Americans, religion is far more important 
than it is for Europeans. In a Pew poll, 50% of 
Americans said religion is very important 
compared to 22% Spaniards, 21% Germans, 17% 
British, and 13% French.  Now although many 
Americans say the USA is a Christian country, 
we can see from the Pew poll that many of those 
same Christians favor the death penalty.  With 
that in mind, how do those same Christians 
think Jesus would come down on the death 
penalty?  A poll taken by the Barna Group in the 
summer of 2013 showed that only 5% of 
Americans thought Jesus would support 
government execution of the worst criminals.  
While religion does not seem to be as important 
to Europeans as it is to Americans, Europeans 
accept the abolition of the death penalty.  In fact, 
for a country to be admitted as a member to the 
European Union, it must abolish the death 

The discussion of the death penalty following 
Clayton Lockett's execution even reached late 
night television.  John Oliver, a British national 
who is attempting to obtain USA citizenship and 
is married to an Iraq veteran, recently got his 
own program, Last Week Tonight With John 
Oliver. He was often seen on the Daily Show.  In 
his second episode, he joined the death penalty 
discussion. He admitted the history of capital 
punishment in Great Britain is "a long and 
bloody one."  He noted that 51% of the British 
population would like the death penalty 
reinstated. He said the death penalty is 
something that is natural to want but that you 
shouldn't necessarily have it.  He said we need 
to ask ourselves "should it be allowed in a 
civilized society?"  He admitted that if someone 
committed a heinous crime, the individual 
would "very much like to kill them." He then 
went on to talk about the exonerations. This was 
followed by the study that shows 4% of death 
row inmates are innocent. He dispelled the 
deterrent argument.  And the cost of the death 
penalty almost finished his commentary.   To see 
John Oliver on the death penalty, go to

In the meantime, we must wonder what we 
Americans have learned from Clayton Lockett's 

Clemency Granted
30	Arthur Tyler		Ohio

Stay of Execution
29	Charles Warner	Oklahoma

5	Robert Pruett		Texas
13	Robert Campbell	Texas
29	Edgardo Cubas	Foreign National - 

23	Robert Hendrix	Florida	 
	3-drug w/ midazolam hydrochloride

23	William Rousan	Missouri 
	1-drug pentobarbital

29	Clayton Lockett	Oklahoma
	3-drug w/ midazolam hydrochloride

UAs                        13
POC                         9
Total                      22
To add your letters to the total contact

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

Amnesty International's mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the 
rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the 
context of its work to promote all human rights.