Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXIV Number 1, January 2016


 UPCOMING EVENTS
  Thursday, January 28, 8:00 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, February 9, 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, February 21, 6:30 PM.  Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion group. 
This month we read "The Moor's Account" 
by Laila Lalami.


COORDINATOR'S CORNER
  Hi
  Happy New Year to all! I can't believe it's 
2016 already...
  I'm glad to see that we're starting to get 
more rain to ease the drought.
  As the area near Vroman's Bookstore 
becomes gentrified, we're sad to see the 
Mexican restaurant "La Fiesta Grande" 
relocate to South Pasadena.  We usually go out 
to eat after the book group, alternating with 
"El Portal". (BTW, all are welcome to join us 
for the book group and/or meet for dinner 
afterwards, usually around 8 pm).
  Amnesty's Annual General Meeting (AGM) 
will be held in Miami April 1-3 2016.  Click on 
this link to register and to see a preliminary 
agenda: 
http://www.amnestyusa.org/events/human-
rights-conference-2016

Con carino,
Kathy



RIGHTS READERS
Human Rights Book Discussion Group

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




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

The Moor's Account
by Laila Lalami


BOOK REVIEW
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2014

Assured, lyrical imagining of the life of one of 
the first African slaves in the New World-a 
native, like Lalami (Secret Son, 2009, etc.), of 
Morocco and, like her, a gifted storyteller.

The Spanish called him Estebanico, a name 
bestowed on him after he was purchased from 
Portuguese traders. That datum comes several 
pages after he proudly announces his true name, 
"Mustafa ibn Muhammad ibn Abdussalam al-
Zamori," and after he allows that some of the 
stories he is about to tell may or may not be 
quite true owing to the vagaries of memory 
and-well, the unlikelihood of the events he 
describes. The overarching event of this kind is, 
of course, the shipwreck that leaves him, with a 
body of Spanish explorers whose number will 
eventually be whittled down to three, to walk 
across much of what is now the American 
Southwest. Led by lvar Nez Cabeza de 
Vaca, "my rival storyteller," the quartet 
encounters wondrous things and people: cities 
of mud brick, maidens draped with turquoise, 
abundant "skins, amulets, feathers, copper 
bells," and always the promise of gold just 
beyond the horizon. They provide wonders in 
return: Estebanico is a source of exotic 
entertainment ("It was harmless fun to them, 
but to me it quickly grew tiresome"), while his 
fellow traveler Andrs Dorantes de Carranza 
sets broken bones and heals the sick. Lalami 
extends the stories delivered by Cabeza de Vaca 
himself in his Naufragios, which has been 
rendered in several English-language editions 
(e.g., We Came Naked and Barefoot; Adventures in 
the Unknown Interior of America; Castaways), but 
hers is certainly the most extensive telling of the 
tale from "the Moor's" point of view. As elusive 
as gold, she tells us, is the promise of freedom 
for Estebanico, who provides the very definition 
of long-suffering. She has great fun, too, with 
the possibilities of a great historical mystery-
namely, whatever became of him?

Adding a new spin to a familiar story, Lalami 
offers an utterly believable, entertainingly told 
alternative to the historical record. A delight.

AUTHOR BIO

Laila Lalami is the author of the novels Hope and 
Other Dangerous Pursuits, which was a finalist 
for the Oregon Book Award; Secret Son, which 
was on the Orange Prize longlist, and The Moor's 
Account, which won the American Book Award, 
the Arab American Book Award, the 
Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and was on the 
Man Booker Prize longlist. The Moor's Account 
was also a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for 
Fiction. Her essays and opinion pieces have 
appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the 
Washington Post, The Nation, the Guardian, the 
New York Times, and in many anthologies. She is 
the recipient of a British Council Fellowship, a 
Fulbright Fellowship, and a Lannan Foundation 
Residency Fellowship and is currently a 
professor of creative writing at the University of 
California at Riverside. 




PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE
Narges Mohammadi

By Alexi Daher


Update on Narges Mohammadi
             
Since our group adopted Narges Mohammadi 
last summer, an Individual-at-Risk from Iran, 
we've written letters on her behalf during our 
monthly letter-writing meetings and we've been 
seeking opportunities to get petitions signed 
whenever possible.  We've been very fortunate 
to have Elise Auerbach as our co-group 
specialist on Iran.  She's been great in providing 
updated information. Lately she proposed that 
we include, in conjunction to our work for 
Narges, actions pertaining to the causes Narges 
fought for in Iran.  If you recall Narges was 
imprisoned for her fight for human and 
women's rights. She also was very outspoken in 
her opposition to the death penalty of juvenile 
offenders. So, when our group adopts issues 
Narges spoke fiercely against, we continue her 
legacy in solidarity.

As we entered the New Year 2016, our group 
made a wonderful Amnesty connection with the 
International Narges Network, thanks to Jean 
Christophe, in Belgium. Narges' International 
Network includes Amnesty groups in Austria, 
Denmark, Norway, France, Sweden, UK, Group 
139 in the US and now us! Isn't this exciting? 
The idea is for groups to share with one another 
their work on Narges' case, seek help in 
translation when needed, and work on actions 
together. 

From Jean Christophe (Amnesty Belgium)

In December 2015, Taghi Rahmani (Narges's 
husband, exiled in Paris with their twin 
children) spoke at a conference. In an email 
received on Jan. 14, 2016, Jean-Christophe 
reported that the scheduled December trial for 
Narges did not happen and no new date has 
been set. This is reason for hope, as Narges was 
expected to face severe charges which would 
have been very difficult to change. In prison 
Narges does not regularly receive the 
medications she needs. This lack of medical 
support might be considered as a case in itself to 
request that Narges be released. 

At this time, Jean-Christophe's group is working 
on getting an appointment with Federica 
Mogherini, High Representative of the 
European Union For Foreign Affairs and 
Security Policy and vice-president of the 
European Commission, to urge her to speak to 
the Iranian authorities in favor of Narges.

Upcoming Events and Proposals

Three main projects, short and long term, have 
been proposed to the Network. Participating 
groups in projects 2 and/or 3 will inform the 
network. Our group will vote on project 
participation as well during our monthly 
meeting.

1.	For the short term: Letter Writing 
*	Date: January 2016, on-going
*	What: Write letters deliberately 
focusing on Narges being denied 
the medical support.  
2.	Upcoming Iranian New Year, Nowruz 
(Proposed by Jean-Christophe)
*	Date: on or around March 21 2016
*	What: Take Group Pictures 
during monthly meeting, add 1 
or 2 lines sentence.  Jean 
Christophe will collect the group 
pictures and notes.  Pictures will 
be addressed to Narges herself. 
He will insure it gets to her.

Nowruz Action 2 
*	Date: During Letter-Writing 
meeting, March 21 2016
*	What: Generate cards to POCs in 
Iran and their families through 
the Nowruz action every year.

Nowruz Action 3 (proposed by 
me)
*	Date: March 2016
*	Location: TBD
*	What: Amnesty International's 
Iran Action Circle in Pasadena. 
Celebrate to mark the Iranian 
New Year. Guests treated to 
delicious Iranian food, 
refreshments, awareness raising 
presentations and more. Share 
the festive spirit of Nowruz, 
welcome the spring, and 
remember to take action on the 
grave human rights abuses going 
on in Iran.  

3.	Long Term Project: A Vigil for Narges 
(Proposed by me)
*	Date: Thursday April 21, on 
Narges' Birthday
*	What: Vigil and Action towards 
media in collaboration with other 
groups. We will discuss a plan of 
action during our monthly 
meeting and propose to the 
Network.

Group 22 Legislative Efforts

I invite our group members to participate in 
lobbying our elected officials this year. 
Legislative efforts include establishing contact 
and meeting with our Congresswoman Judy 
Chu. Members interested in getting involved in 
legislative work please let me know. 

I look forward to keeping you abreast with work 
our group will be doing with the International 
Narges Network. We are onto a great start!





DEATH PENALTY NEWS
By Stevi Carroll


"Capital punishment has not, in a single state, 
proven to be a deterrent to capital crime.  ... Society 
consists of human beings who make mistakes. There 
are those who are, occasionally, negligent, and some 
who are even dishonest or unethical. We are faced 
with the troubling fact that if we, as a society, err in a 
capital case, the sentence is irreversible."
 From The Denver Post: Pete Lister- retired 
corrections officer and military veteran

We're Off To The Races

You might be one of those lucky people who did 
know how much the Powerball was worth and 
somehow do not know who The Donald, Cruz, 
Rubio (and the rest of the Rep gang), Hillary, 
and Bernie are, but I doubt it.

Here in the Golden State we may be faced with 
dueling ballot measures to allow the good 
people of California to let the rest of the world 
know what we believe about the State killing of 
people.  One would lessen the time between 
conviction and execution by shortening the 
appeals process.  The other would abolish the 
death penalty.

Once again, Mike Farrell and Death Penalty 
Focus with the help of other organizations, like 
Amnesty International, are going to attempt to 
have the Department of Corrections move from 
the death penalty to life without possibility of 
parole and thus abolish the death penalty.  

I've been in the 'I'm moving, now I'm on a trip, 
oh yeah, the holidays are here again, and now 
I'm back to work and the gym' mode for the 
past couple of months.  By February, I am 
hopeful we will know how we can walk our 
abolition talk.

What's The Reward For Lost Years Behind 
Bars?

The coffers of LA are twenty-four million dollars 
lighter.  Kash Delano Register spent 34 years in 
prison for a murder he didn't commit.  His cash 
reward: $16.7 million. Bruce Lisker was a 'guest 
of the State' for 26 years. His award: $7.6 
million. Both believe the detectives in their cases 
"ignored evidence of their innocence and 
fabricated evidence of their guilt."  

While Mr. Register and Mr. Lisker cannot get 
their decades spent in prison back, and the real 
murderers in these cases have been free and 
among us, the LA city lawyers are worried 
about the police misconduct allegations that 
may come from this case. According to an article 
in the LA Times, "taking the cases to trial could 
be even more financially devastating."

To read more on this story, go to 
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-
ln-wrongful-convictions-20160119-story.html.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and I got to share this 
beautiful planet for a little over 20 years, and for 
this, I am forever grateful.  As hard as it might 
be for anyone to remember, MLK talked about 
more than his 'Dream'.  The March on 
Washington August 18, 1963, was called The 
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  Dr. 
King understood the impact of inequality not 
only for drinking fountains, the vote, and 
education but also for employment - social 
justice as well as racial justice.

We forget that June 4, 1967, Dr. King gave his 
Beyond Vietnam speech in which he shone the 
spotlight of injustice on the Vietnam War.  He 
knew We must learn to live together as brothers or 
perish together as fools. I often wonder what our 
national racial and class attitudes would be 
today if Dr. King had not been shot to death.  
And I am confident he would have worked for 
the abolition of the death penalty in the United 
States, and around the world.

... "in his sermon 'Loving Your Enemies,' Dr. 
King preached a philosophy that had no room 
for capital retribution: 'Returning hate for hate 
multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a 
night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot 
drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate 
cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 
Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies 
violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in 
a descending spiral of destruction.'" (from Death 
Penalty Information)

Exonerations
Note: As you read the exonerations, please hold 
in mind Cameron Todd Willingham, executed 
February 17, 2004. He, like Amaury Villalobos, 
William Vasquez, and Raymond Mora, Han Tak 
Lee, and Davey Reedy, was very likely innocent.

Donovan Allen
State: WA
Date of Exoneration: 12/1/2015
In 2002, Donovan Allen was sentenced to life in 
prison without parole for the murder of his 
mother in Longview, Washington. Allen was 
exonerated in 2015 after DNA tests implicated 
the victim's nephew as the killer.

Floyd Bledsoe
State: KS
Date of Exoneration: 12/8/2015
Floyd Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison in 
2000 in Jefferson County, Kansas for the sexual 
assault and murder of his 14-year-old sister-in-
law. He was exonerated in 2015 when DNA 
testing linked his brother to the crime.

Amaury Villalobos
State: NY
Date of Exoneration: 12/16/2015
Amaury Villalobos (left), William Vasquez and 
Raymond Mora were sentenced to 25 years to 
life for setting a fire that killed a mother and her 
five children in Brooklyn in 1980. In 2015, they 
were exonerated (Mora posthumously) after the 
fire was shown to have been an accident and a 
witness who identified them recanted.

Han Tak Lee
State: PA
Date of Exoneration: 12/17/2015
Han Tak Lee was sentenced to life in prison 
without parole for setting a fire that killed his 
daughter in Pennsylvania in 1989. He was 
exonerated in 2015 after fire expert John Lentini 
demonstrated that forensic evidence did not 
support the theory that the fire was intentionally 
set.

Marvin Roberts
State: AK
Date of Exoneration: 12/18/2015
Marvin Roberts (left), Kevin Pease, George Frese 
and Eugene Vent, who became known as the 
Fairbanks Four, were convicted and sentenced 
to decades in prison for a 1997 murder in 
Fairbanks, Alaska. They were exonerated in 
2015 after the real killers were identified.

Davey Reedy
State: VA
Date of Exoneration: 12/22/2015
In 1989, Davey Reedy was sentenced to life in 
prison for setting a fire that killed his two 
children in Roanoke, Virginia. Reedy was 
pardoned in 2015 after advances in fire science 
established that the forensic evidence on which 
his conviction was based did not suggest arson.
(source: The National Registry of Exonerations - 
http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration

" When we, society, wrongfully convict someone, 
whether through malfeasance or neglect, or whether 
the technology extant at time of trial was insufficient 
to prove innocence, then we, society, have a 
responsibility to release him, to publicly acknowledge 
the error, and allow that citizen to move past the 
horror that we, society, have inflicted. How do we do 
that after we've put him to death?"
from The Denver Post: Pete Lister- retired 
corrections officer and military veteran

Stays of Execution*
January
14 	Jason McGehee~	 AR
14	Kenneth Williams~	 AR
19	Gerald Watkins	 PA
21	Ronald Phillips ^^	 OH
21	Jeffery Wogenstahl^	 OH
22	Andre Station	 PA

Executions
December 2015
9	Brian Keith Terrell	GA 
	Lethal Injection: 1-drug (pentobarbital)
January 2016
7	Oscar Ray Bolin Jr	FL	Lethal 
Injection: 3-drug (midazolam)
20	Richard Masterson	TX 
	Lethal Injection: 1-drug (pentobarbital)
21	Christopher Brooks	AL 
	Lethal Injection: 3-drug  (midazolam)

~ On October 8, the Arkansas Circuit Court 
granted a temporary restraining order staying 
all eight scheduled executions so that already 
pending judicial review of the state's execution 
procedures could take place. 
^^ On October 19, 2015 the Ohio Department of 
Corrections issued a statement that Gov. Kasich 
granted reprieves postponing all executions that 
the state had scheduled in 2016. Ohio has been 
unable to obtain the execution drugs required to 
conduct executions under state law. All 
execution dates have been rescheduled by the 
state.
^On January 30, 2015, the Ohio State 
Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections 
announced that it would postpone all of the six 
executions scheduled in 2015 to that point. All of 
these executions would be scheduled in 2016 to 
allow time for the state to obtain new drugs for 
lethal injections. The new drugs that Ohio 
announced it would be trying to obtain were 
sodium thiopental and pentobarbital.



WRITE FOR RIGHTS (DECEMBER ) 
GROUP 22 LETTER COUNT
Girls Forced into Marriage 
     BURKINO FASO                    8
Fred and Yves 
     DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO    8
Teodora del Carmen Vasquez
     EL SALVADOR                     8
Costas 
     GREECE                          7
Saman Naseem 
     IRAN                            8
Zunar
     MALAYSIA                        9
Yecenia Armenta
     MEXICO                         11
Phyoe Phyoe Aung 
     MYANMAR                         9
Waleed Abu Al-Khair 
     SAUDI ARABIA                    7
Rania Alabbasi and Her Children 
     SYRIA                           9
Albert Woodfox
     USA                            12
Muhammad Bekzhanov
     UZBEKISTAN                      9

TOTAL                              105



GROUP 22 JANUARY LETTER COUNT
UAs (IRAN)                 11
UA (DP USA)                 5
Other UAs                  18
Total                      34
To add your letters to the total contact 
aigp22@caltech.edu 

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

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.