Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXIV Number 7, July 2016

JULY OR AUGUST. The Thursday planning 
meetings will resume after summer break on 
September 22.
  Tuesday, August 9, 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, August 28, 6:30 PM, (date to be 
confirmed).  Rights Readers Human Rights Book 
Discussion group. This month we read a 
mystery, "The Unquiet Dead," by Ausma 
Zehanat Khan. 
  We wanted to move the book group date 
forward a week from the usual third Sunday, 
because several of us will be out of town on 
Aug 21, including Stevi, our dedicated 
discussion leader. We will send an 
announcement as soon as the new date is 
confirmed. Thank you.

Hello everyone,

This is Joyce. I'm putting the July newsletter 
together while Kathy is off enjoying a 
Mediterranean cruise. 

August is traditionally the month when we 
choose a mystery as our human rights book 
group selection. This book looks very 
interesting, and I hope many of you can join 
Stevi and the usual suspects for the discussion 
on Sunday, Aug. 28. We will send a 
confirmation of the date within a week or two. 

Be sure and check for 
the latest human rights news. I loved the photos 
of Amnesty Observers in their yellow T shirts at 
the Republican Convention last week. They're at 
the Democratic Convention too. 

Here in California, the campaign for Prop 62 is 
gearing up. See Stevi's Death Penalty update 
column following in this newsletter.

Best wishes to Kathy and Robert for a great 
vacation. Kathy has posted photos of Barcelona, 
Pisa, Florence, and there's much more to come.

Cheers, Joyce

Next Rights Readers meeting: 
Sunday, Aug. 28 
(date to be confirmed) 
 6:30 PM
Vroman's Bookstore
(to be confirmed)
695 E. Colorado Blvd

The Unquiet Dead

by Ausma Zehanat Khan

Ausma Zehanat Khan holds a Ph.D. in 
International Human Rights Law with a 
specialization in military intervention and war 
crimes in the Balkans. She has practiced 
immigration law and taught human rights law 
at Northwestern University and York 
University. She is the former Editor in Chief of 
Muslim Girl magazine, the first magazine 
targeted to young Muslim women. Khan 
currently lives in Colorado with her husband. 
The Unquiet Dead is her first novel. 

The LA Times wrote:
"While publishers may rave about mysteries 
that 'transcend the genre,' few soar beyond their 
crime-solving objectives. And to find such a 
treasure in a first-time effort is rarer still.
'The Unquiet Dead' bears examination not just 
because it is a debut mystery. Its author, Ausma 
Zehanat Khan, is a Canadian Muslim who holds 
a PhD in international human rights law, giving 
rise to some questions: What might such a writer 
bring to a mystery? How much might her faith 
or academic research be reflected on the page?"

Two Toronto detectives are handed a politically 
sensitive case.

Esa Khattak is a second-generation Canadian 
Muslim who heads the new Community 
Policing Section, created to deal with delicate 
cases involving minorities. A call from Tom 
Paley, chief historian at the Canadian 
Department of Justice, drops Esa and his 
partner, Rachel Getty, into the case of 
Christopher Drayton, who fell, jumped or was 
pushed off a cliff. They visit Drayton's famous 
neighbor, writer Nathan Clare, who is Esa's 
lifelong friend. Clare longs to renew a 
relationship that was destroyed by Esa's former 
partner, a siren who bewitched Clare into 
testifying against Esa in a complaint that almost 
ended his career. Rachel has secrets of her own. 
She still lives at home with her abusive ex-cop 
father and her meek mother in the hope that the 
beloved brother who left home at 15 will seek 
her out. The older daughter of Drayton's fiancee, 
mercenary Melanie Blessant, hated Drayton and 
hoped she and her sister could live with their 
father if her mother remarried. After dozens of 
letters with horrifying stories of rape and 
murder are found in Drayton's safe, Esa admits 
to Rachel that Drayton is probably Drazen 
Krstic, a former lieutenant colonel in the Bosnian 
Serb Army and the instigator of horrific war 
crimes. Paley wants the story kept quiet until 
they positively identify Krstic and learn the 
manner of his death. The scandal of U.N. forces 
standing by while thousands of Muslim men, 
women and children were slaughtered is 
intensified by the possibility that Krstic entered 
Canada with a fortune in blood money.

Khan's stunning debut is a poignant, elegantly 
written mystery laced with complex characters 
who force readers to join them in dealing with 
ugly truths.

[Review Posted Online: Nov. 3rd, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2014

Narges Mohammadi

by Joyce Wolf 

Narges Mohammadi, Group 22's adopted 
Prisoner of Conscience, began a hunger strike on 
June 27 to protest the Iran prison authorities' 
denial of telephone contact with her young 
children. Her supporters around the world were 
deeply concerned about the effect on her health, 
since she suffers from neurological and 
pulmonary conditions. Fortunately, 20 days 
later, she called off her hunger strike after the 
authorities promised her weekly phone calls 
with her children.

Amnesty UA 105/15, updated July 6, stated:
"Narges Mohammadi started a hunger strike on 
27 June as a last resort to protest the judicial 
authorities' persistent refusal to allow her 
telephone contact with her nine-year-old twins. 
Her children had to move abroad one year ago 
to live with their father, as there was nobody to 
look after them in Iran after her arrest in May 
2015. Since then, she has been allowed only one 
phone call with them. In a letter she wrote from 
inside Evin Prison on 27 June announcing her 
hunger strike, she said that all her requests for 
telephone contact with her children have been 
refused, except on 2 April when, on the written 
order of the Prosecutor General of Tehran, she 
was granted a 10-minute telephone call with 
them. She wrote: 'I have forgotten their voices. I 
don't keep their photos by my bed anymore. I 
can't look at them.'
Narges Mohammadi is critically ill. She suffers 
from a pulmonary embolism (a blockage in the 
blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to 
the lungs) and a neurological disorder that has 
resulted in her experiencing seizures and 
temporary partial paralysis. She needs ongoing 
specialized medical care, which she cannot 
receive in prison, as well as daily medication, 
and a hunger strike puts her health and life at 
risk. On 3 July, she was taken from Tehran's 
Evin Prison to Iran Mehr Hospital, also in 
Tehran, for routine tests related to her 
pulmonary embolism.
 Narges Mohammadi received a 16-year prison 
sentence after she was convicted, following an 
unfair trial in April 2016, of the charges of 
'founding an illegal group', 'gathering and 
colluding to commit crimes against national 
security', and "spreading propaganda against 
the system". She is already serving a six-year 
prison sentence from a previous case. Her 
convictions are based solely on her human 
rights work."

It was with joy and relief that I read the news on 
July 16 that her hunger strike was over and that 
she could speak with her children.

And also from Reporters Without Borders:
"18.07.2016 - Narges Mohammadi ends hunger 
strike. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is 
relieved that imprisoned journalist and human 
rights defender Narges Mohammadi abandoned 
her hunger strike on 16 July after being able to 
talk by phone with her two children, who now 
live with their father in Paris."

Narges is one of the featured cases in the special 
report that Amnesty released on July 17:
"In Iran a prisoner's health is routinely taken 
hostage by the authorities, who recklessly ignore 
the medical needs of those in custody. Denying 
medical care to political prisoners is cruel and 
utterly indefensible," said Philip Luther, 
Director of Amnesty International's Middle East 
and North Africa Program.
"Prisoners' access to health care is a right 
enshrined in both international and Iranian law. 
When depriving a prisoner of medical care 
causes severe pain or suffering and it is 
intentionally done for purposes such as 
punishment, intimidation or to extract a forced 
'confession', it constitutes torture."

The organization International Campaign for 
Human Rights in Iran recently issued a report 
on conditions in Evin Prison where Narges and 
other women are detained.
"The report presents extensive excerpts from 
Iran's State Prison Procedures, showing these 
conditions violate Iran's own laws. According to 
the prisoner testimony contained in the report, 
the inmates repeatedly reported the conditions 
in the Ward to Iran's Judiciary, but the Judiciary, 
headed by by Sadegh Amoli Larijani, has taken 
no action.
Since 2005, no United Nations or other 
international monitoring body has been allowed 
to visit the Women's Ward at Evin Prison-or 
indeed any ward at Evin Prison."

You can take action for Narges here:

Keep up with news about Narges and human 
rights in Iran with #FreeNarges at

By Stevi Carroll

Justice That Works has a proposition number:

July 14, 2016, a broad coalition joined together in 
Los Angeles to launch the Yes On 62 campaign. 
In attendance were Mike Farrell, Yes on Prop 62 
proponent; Dolores Huerta, civil rights and 
labor leader; Franky Carrillo, wrongly 
convicted, released from prison after 20 years; 
Gary Tyler, wrongly convicted, released from 
prison after 41 years; Beth Webb, sister of a 
victim of the Seal Beach hair salon mass 
shooting; Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County 
Supervisor; John Van de Kamp, former 
California Attorney General; Gil Garcetti, former 
Los Angeles County District Attorney; Ron 
Briggs, who earlier led the campaign that 
brought the death penalty back to California in 
the 70s; Rabbi Jonathan Klein, executive director 
of CLUE; and Eric Bauman, chair of the Los 
Angeles County Democratic Party. During that 
press conference, Beth Webb said more violence 
did not bring peace. "Neither me (sic) nor my 
mom will find closure in the death of another 
human being." To see video from this event, see
htmlstory.html (scroll down to "Critics of 
California's death penalty launch the campaign 
to pass Proposition 62")

Endorsements for Proposition 62 roll in from 
former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady 
Rosalynn Carter to the Catholic Bishops of 
California to Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. In an 
article in the LA Times, the former President and 
First Lady said, "We believe that the attempt to 
administer the death penalty in a fair and 
efficient manner has failed, and note that a 
number of states have chosen to abandon this 
policy for this reason. ...It is our hope that 
California will also lead the nation in adopting a 
more effective and fiscally responsible law 
enforcement approach."  Lt. Gov. Newsom said 
that the death penalty does not deter crime and 
is fundamentally immoral.  He noted that 
statistics show California has spent $5 billion to 
execute 13 people since 1978.

The East Bay Times and the Turlock Journal have 
recently had editorials encouraging their readers 
to vote yes on Proposition 62. I'm interested to 
see where the LA Times and the Pasadena Star-
News will come down on 62.

Attorney General Kamala Harris said she is 
unable to comment on Prop 62 because her 
office is responsible for the draft of the measure.  
She personally opposes the death penalty and 
Nathan Click, the campaign spokesperson, says 
he believes that dispels "any uncertainty about 
how Harris will vote on Prop 62."  Rep. Loretta 
Sanchez (D-CA),  AG Harris's opponent for US 
Senate, says she is opposed to the death penalty 
and would like to see a moratorium at both the 
state and federal levels. While Democratic 
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton supports 
the death penalty, a draft of the Democratic 
platform includes, "We will abolish the death 
penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and 
unusual form of punishment. It has no place in 
the United States of America."

Please be aware that also on the November 
ballot will be Proposition 66 that seeks to reduce 
the time between sentencing and execution. 
Remind your friends who may be in favor of 
abolition to vote YES on Proposition 62 and NO 
on Proposition 66.

If you would like to endorse Proposition 62, go to 
To donate, go to

Deadliest Prosecutors

In June of this year, the Fair Punishment Project, 
a joint initiative of Harvard Law School's 
Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & 
Justice and its Criminal Justice Institute 
published a report called America's Top Five 
Deadliest Prosecutors: How Overzealous 
Personalities Drive The Death Penalty.  

From the introduction of this report:
"This report analyzes the records of five of 
America's deadliest head prosecutors. Three of 
them personally obtained over 35 death 
sentences each: Joe Freeman Britt in North 
Carolina, Bob Macy in Oklahoma, and Donnie 
Myers in South Carolina. These men shared an 
obsession with winning death sentences at 
almost any cost.

For example, Joe Freeman Britt, who committed 
misconduct in more than 36% of his death 
penalty prosecutions, said: "Within the breast of 
each of us burns a flame that constantly 
whispers in our ear 'preserve life, preserve life, 
preserve life at any cost.' It is the prosecutor's 
job to extinguish that flame." The remaining two 
prosecutors, Lynne Abraham (Philadelphia 
County, Pennsylvania) and Johnny Holmes 
(Harris County, Texas), did not personally 
prosecute as many death penalty cases as the 
three men above, but nonetheless oversaw the 
imposition of death sentences against a 
staggering 108 and 201 people, respectively, 
during their terms.

Of these five prosecutors, only one-Donnie 
Myers-remains in office, and he plans to retire 
at the end of the year. One of the most 
remarkable findings from our research is the fact 
that once these prosecutors and their protˇgˇs 
left their positions, death sentences dramatically 
declined in these jurisdictions--a pattern that has 
only become clear in the years since their 

To read the entire report, go to

Within California, the imposition of death 
sentences also varies.  Prosecutors in Riverside 
County have condemned murderers to death 
more than five times the statewide rate during 
the last 10 years and in Orange County the rate 
is twice the state average.  These two counties 
account for 14 percent of the population and are 
responsible for 34 percent of the death 
sentences.  Fresno County had 555 murder 
arrests in the past decade with one death 
sentence while San Francisco County had 350 
murder arrests and no death sentences.
We need Justice That Works.

Relatives of Murderers

I find it easy to have compassion and sympathy 
for the victims of violent crimes and their family 
members and friends.  But what about the 
relatives of the murderers? We've seen with the 
meeting of Bill McVeigh, Timothy McVeigh's 
father, and Bud Welch, the father of Julie Welch 
who died in the bombing of the Alfred P. 
Murrah Federal Building, the mourning of two 

Recently, I read two books that offered me the 
opportunity to see into the lives of the mothers 
of murderers. A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the 
Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold gives the 
reader insight into the life of the mother of 
Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine High 
School shooters, who knows her son killed 
many teenagers and who also lives with the 
knowledge that her son killed himself. In When 
the Focus Shifts: The Prayer Book of Arlene Holmes, 
Arlene Holmes, the mother of James Holmes the 
murderer at the Aurora movie theater, shares 
with the reader her prayers as she moves 
through the nightmare of what her son did, his 
trial, and his possible sentence of death. (He 
received life without possibility of parole.)

I find it helpful as I work for the abolition of the 
death penalty to be reminded of Sr. Helen 
Prejean's quote: "People are more than the worst 
thing they have ever done in their lives." And 
now I also will keep in mind not only the friends 
and family members of the murdered, but also 
the friends and family members of the accused.

Recent Exonerations

Justin Chapman. State: GA
Date of Exoneration: 6/22/2016
In 2007, Justin Chapman was convicted of murder by 
arson in Bremen, Georgia and  sentenced to life in 
prison. He was exonerated in 2016 after evidence 
concealed by prosecutors showed the primary 
witnesses lied at trial.

Crystal Weimer. State: PA
Date of Exoneration: 6/27/2016
In 2006, Crystal Weimer was sentenced to 15 to 30 
years in prison for third-degree murder in Fayette 
County, Pennsylvania, based on testimony by a co-
defendant and by a dentist who said her teeth 
matched a bite mark on the victim. She was 
exonerated in 2016 after the co-defendant and the 
dentist both recanted their testimony.

William Richards. State: CA
Date of Exoneration: 6/28/2016
In 1997, William Richards was convicted of 
murdering his wife in San Bernardino County, 
California, and was sentenced to 25 years to life in 
prison. He was exonerated in 2016 after a dentist who 
testified at trial that a bite mark on the victim was 
made by Richards' teeth recanted his testimony and 
said that he was no longer confident the injury was a 
human bite mark.

Duquene Pierre. State: NJ
Date of Exoneration: 7/7/2016
In 1996, Duquene Pierre was convicted of murder 
and aggravated assault in Union County, New Jersey 
and sentenced to 60 years in prison. He was acquitted 
on retrial in 2016 after the only two witnesses who 
had identified him recanted.

Lavell Jones. State: NY
Date of Exoneration: 7/7/2016
In 1999, Lavell Jones was convicted of murder in 
Albany, New York and sentenced to 37 1/2 years to 
life in prison. Jones, along with his co-defendant, Carl 
Dukes, was exonerated in 2016 after the real killer 
confessed to the crime. 

Carl Dukes. State: NY
Date of Exoneration: 7/7/2016
In 1998, Carl Dukes (right) was convicted of murder 
in Albany, New York and sentenced to 39 years to 
life in prison. Dukes, along with his co-defendant, 
Lavell Jones, was exonerated in 2016 after the real 
killer confessed to the crime.

Davontae Sanford. State: MI
Date of Exoneration: 7/19/2016
In 2007, 14-year-old Davontae Sanford falsely 
confessed to a quadruple homicide in Detroit, 
Michigan. He later pled guilty and was sentenced to 
39 to 90 years in prison. He was exonerated in 2016, 
eight years after the real killer confessed to the crime.

Jose Montanez and Armando Serrano State: IL
Date of Exoneration: 7/20/2016
In 1994, Jose Montanez and Armando Serrando were 
convicted of murder in Chicago and each was 
sentenced to 55 years in prison. They were 
exonerated in 2016 after witnesses recanted their 
testimony and said they were beaten by police.

Stays of Execution

1	George Hitcho		PA
14	Perry Williams	TX
20	Cleveland R. Jackson	OH
20	Taichin Preyor		TX
27	Rolando Ruiz		TX (date changed 
to 8/31/16)

Recent execution

15	John Conner		GA	 
Lethal Injection (1-drug Pentobarbital)

UA for POC               8
Other UAs               13
Total                   21
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.