Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News
Volume XXVII Number 8, August 2019


 UPCOMING EVENTS
  Tuesday, September 10, 7:30-9:00 PM. Letter 
Writing meeting at the Caltech Athenaeum, 
corner of Hill and California in Pasadena. (In 
summer we meet outdoors at the "Rath al 
Fresco" on the lawn next to the building.) This 
informal gathering is a great way for 
newcomers to get acquainted with Amnesty. 
  Sunday, September 15, 6:30 PM. Rights 
Readers Human Rights Book Discussion 
Group. For September we read "American 
Prison: A Reporter's Undercover Journey into 
the Business of Punishment" by Shane Bauer.
  Thursday, September 26, 7:30 PM. Monthly 
Meeting. We meet at the Caltech Y, Tyson 
House, 505 S. Wilson Ave., Pasadena.

COORDINATOR'S CORNER
Hello All,

This past week school started for LAUSD and 
other districts. It has been pretty crazy and I'm 
still trying to get used to getting up earlier after 
flaking of all summer, lol. Those of you who 
don't get the summer off are thinking "world's 
smallest violin!", but it wasn't that long ago that 
we didn't get paid during the summer until 
November and I had to work at least 6 weeks or 
the whole summer at the year-round schools to 
make ends meet! It was good to see nurse 
friends at opening day meeting Monday and my 
colleagues from the Visually Impaired Program 
the rest of the week. This is my last year as I 
plan to retire June 2020. As of that time, I will 
have given the district 32-plus years of my life!!

The Western Regional Conference for this year 
will be held in Seattle at the University of 
Washington (or "U Dub" as Seattle natives like 
my cousins call it!) The dates are Saturday 
November 9th and Sunday November 10th. 
Early bird rates are available until 11:59pm EST 
September 30 and online registration closes 
11:59 PM EST 10-28-19.
Amnesty doesn't have the agenda on their 
website yet but one can keep checking at 
amnestyusa.org and click on "regional 
conferences" at the top, then select western 
regional conference.

Protests in Hong Kong against the proposed 
extradition law (all prisoners to be tried in 
mainland China) continue. Amnesty has made 
statements to the press and sent a letter to Mike 
Pompeo expressing concern over use of violent 
tactics by Hong Kong police (despite the 
protests being largely peaceful)and the 
extradition bill itself. There are press releases, 
and actions on the AI website. Some are older 
but there are plenty regarding the 2019 protests. 
As far as I know, our government hasn't taken a 
stand either for or against the protests and the 
issues involved.
https://www.amnesty.org/en/search/?q=+ho
ng+kong+protests&sort=relevance

Con carino,
Kathy




Next Rights Readers Meeting

Sunday, Sep. 15
6:30 PM

Vroman's Bookstore
695 E. Colorado Blvd 
Pasadena

American Prison
 
by Shane Bauer



REVIEWS
https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/book
s/553182/american-prison-by-shane-bauer/

A ground-breaking and brave inside reckoning 
with the nexus of prison and profit in America: 
in one Louisiana prison and over the course of 
our country's history.

In 2014, Shane Bauer was hired for $9 an hour to 
work as an entry-level prison guard at a private 
prison in Winnfield, Louisiana. An award-
winning investigative journalist, he used his real 
name; there was no meaningful background 
check. Four months later, his employment came 
to an abrupt end. But he had seen enough, and 
in short order he wrote an exposé about his 
experiences that won a National Magazine 
Award and became the most-read feature in the 
history of the magazine Mother Jones. Still, there 
was much more that he needed to say. In 
American Prison, Bauer weaves a much deeper 
reckoning with his experiences together with a 
thoroughly researched history of for-profit 
prisons in America from their origins in the 
decades before the Civil War. For, as he soon 
realized, we can't understand the cruelty of our 
current system and its place in the larger story 
of mass incarceration without understanding 
where it came from. Private prisons became 
entrenched in the South as part of a systemic 
effort to keep the African-American labor force 
in place in the aftermath of slavery, and the 
echoes of these shameful origins are with us 
still.

The private prison system is deliberately 
unaccountable to public scrutiny. Private 
prisons are not incentivized to tend to the health 
of their inmates, or to feed them well, or to 
attract and retain a highly-trained prison staff. 
Though Bauer befriends some of his colleagues 
and sympathizes with their plight, the chronic 
dysfunction of their lives only adds to the 
prison's sense of chaos. To his horror, Bauer 
finds himself becoming crueler and more 
aggressive the longer he works in the prison, 
and he is far from alone.

A blistering indictment of the private prison 
system, and the powerful forces that drive it, 
American Prison is a necessary human 
document about the true face of justice in 
America.

"American Prison is both the remarkable story of a 
journalist who spent four months working as a 
corrections officer, and a horrifying exposé of how 
prisoners were treated by a corporation that profited 
from them. . . . It's Bauer's investigative chops, 
though, that make American Prison so essential. He 
dedicated his time at Winn to talking with prisoners 
and guards, who were unaware that he was a 
journalist . . . Based on his first-hand experience and 
these conversations, he paints a damning picture of 
prisoner mistreatment and under-staffing at the 
prison, where morale among the incarcerated and the 
employees was poor. The stories he tells are deeply 
sad and consistently infuriating . . . An enraging, 
necessary look at the private prison system, and a 
convincing clarion call for prison reform." -
NPR.org 
 
 "Riveting . . . Bauer himself was held in an [Iranian] 
prison for two years, so he knows what it feels like to 
be on the inside, yet he brings to the text a 
journalist's purview and draws a direct line between 
American slavery, the founders of the prison 
corporations and the job he is hired to do. In a 
fascinating tightrope walk, Bauer shows that, in this 
so-called industry, the financial bottom line comes at 
a high human cost." -Oprah.com 
 
"A penetrating exposé on the cruelty and mind-
bending corruption of privately run prisons across 
the United States . . . Nearly every page of this tale 
contains examples of shocking inhumanity . . . A 
potent, necessary broadside against incarceration in 
the U.S." -Kirkus, starred review

Book trailer for American Prison
https://youtu.be/eykrYVwya0s

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shane_Bauer

Bauer grew up in Onamia, Minnesota[2] and he 
is a graduate of the University of California, 
Berkeley.[3]

In July 2009, Bauer and two companions (Joshua 
Fattal and Sarah Shourd) were arrested by 
Iranian border guards after straying into Iran 
while hiking in northern Iraq near the Iranian 
border. The three Americans were held in prison 
in Iran on bogus espionage charges for more 
than two years before their release in September 
2011. They subsequently co-authored a memoir 
of their experience (A Sliver of Light), as well as 
the cover story ("Kidnapped by Iran") for the 
March-April 2014 issue of Mother Jones 
magazine.

Bauer has worked as a foreign correspondent, 
reporting from Iraq, Sudan, Chad, Syria, 
Lebanon, and Yemen. His work has appeared in 
The Nation,[4] Salon.com,[5] the Los Angeles 
Times,[6] and the Christian Science 
Monitor.[7][8]

In 2015 he worked as an undercover journalist 
for Mother Jones while employed for six months 
as a prison guard at the Winn Correctional 
Center, a private prison in Winn Parish, 
Louisiana managed by the Corrections 
Corporation of America (now known as 
CoreCivic).[9] 



DEATH PENALTY NEWS
By Stevi Carroll


Federal Death Penalty

US Attorney General William Barr must be 
feeling pretty frisky since he's been at work for 
the Trump administration since February 14, 
2019. On July 25, 2019, AG Barr informed the 
Federal Bureau of Prisons to include executions 
in its basket of punishments. He told the prisons 
bureau to schedule five inmates for execution. 

As always, we in Amnesty International do not 
condone the crimes these people are convicted 
of committing, but we do question the use of the 
death penalty.  As Bryan Stevenson executive 
director of the Equal Justice Initiative says, "The 
death penalty is not about whether people 
deserve to die for the crimes they commit. The 
real question of capital punishment in this 
country is, 'Do we deserve to kill?'"

Exonerations 

Christopher Tapp - State: ID
 - Date of Exoneration: 7/17/2019
After giving a false confession, Christopher 
Tapp was convicted in 1998 for the rape and 
murder of Angie Dodge in Idaho Falls, Idaho. 
He was exonerated in 2019 after a DNA sample 
from the crime scene was matched to the actual 
attacker.

Chester Hollman III - State: PA
 - Date of Exoneration: 7/30/2019
In 1993, Chester Hollman III was sentenced to 
life in prison without parole for murder in 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was exonerated 
in 2019 based on evidence that two witnesses 
admitting they lied at his trial and police and 
prosecutors withheld evidence of other suspects.

John Miller - State: PA
 - Date of Exoneration: 7/31/2019
In 1998, John Miller was sentenced to life in 
prison without parole for a robbery and murder 
in Philadelphia in 1993. He was exonerated 2019 
because the witnesses against him admitted 
they falsely implicated Miller in the crime.



Stays of Executions

July
10	Kareen M Jackson	OH	
Reprieve granted by Gov. Mike DeWine on 
March 7, 2019, and execution rescheduled for 
January 16, 2020

16	William Rivera	PA	
Legally premature death warrant. Stay granted 
by the US District Court of the Eastern District 
of Pennsylvania on June 6, 2019, to permit 
Rivera to pursue federal habeas corpus review 
to which all state prisoners are entitled as a 
matter of law.

31	Ruben Gutierrez	TX	
Warrant withdrawn. New Death warrant issued 
rescheduling execution for October 30, 2019

August
14	Gregory Lott		OH	
Reprieve granted by Gov. Mike DeWine on 
March 7, 2019, and execution rescheduled for 
March 12, 2020.

15	Dexter Johnson 	TX	
Stay granted by the US Court of Appeals for the 
Fifth Circuit on August 14, 2019

19	Jason Reeves		LA	
Legally premature death warrant. Stay granted 
by the US District Court in Louisiana on August 
9, 2019, to permit Reeves to pursue federal 
habeas corpus review to which all state 
prisoners are entitled as a matter of law.	

Executions

August
15	Stephen Michael West	TN
	Electrocution (3rd in TN since Nov)	
	Years from sentence to execution - 32

21	Larry Swearingen		TX
	Lethal Injection 1-drug: Pentobarbital
	Years from sentence to execution - 19

22	Gary Bowles			FL
	Lethal Injection 3- drug: Etomidate	
	Years from sentence to execution - 23








SECURITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS
By Robert Adams


CRITICISM OF ISRAELI GOVERNMENT'S 
POLICIES ARE FREE SPEECH, NOT ANTI-
SEMITISM
08/15/2019

Responding to Prime Minister of Israel, 
Benjamin Netanyahu, and minister of Interior 
Arye Deri, denying entrance to two U.S. 
members of Congress and U.S. President Donald 
Trump's tweets referring to the members of 
Congress as anti-semitic, Amnesty International 
Israel and Amnesty International USA issued 
the following statement:

Molly Malekar, Amnesty International Israel's 
director said:
 "The Israeli government allows free entry to world 
leaders accused of gross violations of human rights, 
war crimes, and crimes against humanity, such as 
Myanmar's generals and Duterte of the Philippines, 
proudly embracing leaders identified with 
supporting neo-Nazi and anti-semitic groups such as 
Hungary's Orbán or Brazil's Bolsenaro, but 
automatically calls anti-semitic anyone who dare 
criticize it.
"Israel bars entry on the basis of political views to 
those who critique it. Criticizing Israel's policies isn't 
violence."

Philippe Nassif, the advocacy director for the 
Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty 
International USA said:
"Donald Trump continues a pattern of divisive 
rhetoric that inflicts great harm on those standing up 
for their basic rights. Free speech is a basic human 
right. Opposition to a government's policies or 
abhorrence to grave human rights abuses is neither 
anti-semitism nor a hatred towards a country or its 
people. We expect all people who support human 
rights to stand up and speak out against abuses, 
wherever they occur."

Amnesty International Israel and Amnesty 
International USA have been calling for an end 
to illegal settlements, an end to unjustly 
detaining Palestinian activists including 
children, and for respect for the rights to 
freedom of movement and expression in Israel 
and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Background 
The "anti-boycott law" of 2011, formally known 
as the Law for Prevention of Damage to State of 
Israel through Boycott, makes it a civil wrong to 
call for a boycott of any entity because of its 
affiliation to Israel or to a territory under its 
control, including entities operating in illegal 
settlements in the Occupied Palestinian 
Territories. A 2017 amendment to the Entry to 
Israel Law prohibits granting an entry visa to 
Israel (and therefore to the Occupied Palestinian 
Territories which are under Israeli control) to 
anyone who knowingly published, or operates 
within an organization who knowingly 
published, a call for a boycott as defined under 
the 2011 law. Both the Law for Prevention of 
Damage to State of Israel through Boycott of 
2011 and the 2017 amendment to the Entry to 
Israel Law contravene Israel's obligations under 
international human rights law.

Amnesty International does not take a view on 
the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) 
campaign and has never called for or endorsed 
specific boycotts. It is up to individuals and 
organizations to determine which peaceful 
strategies to use in furtherance of human rights. 
Advocating for boycotts, divestment and 
sanctions is a form of free expression that must 
be protected. Advocates of boycotts should be 
allowed to express their views freely and take 
forward their campaigns without harassment, 
threats of prosecution or criminalization, or 
other measures that violate the right to freedom 
of expression.




GROUP 22 AUGUST LETTER COUNT
UAs                        18
POC Narges Mohammadi       13
POC Gao Zhisheng           19
Total                      50





PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE
Narges Mohammadi
and Gao Zhisheng
By Joyce Wolf


Thanks to Group 22 Co-coordinator Kathy for 
organizing letter-writing efforts for both our 
group's adopted prisoners of conscience. 
Nineteen letters for Gao might set a monthly 
record for us. And thirteen letters for Narges is 
not too shabby either! A special thank-you also 
to group member Candy for her generous 
contribution towards postage to mail all our 
letters.

I have not been able to find any updates about 
Narges Mohammadi since last month's 
newsletter. As always, you can check Twitter 
#FreeNarges. You can find a selection of 
inspirational quotes from Narges at
https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Narges_Mohammadi

Here are some sample quotes:
"As a human rights defender, like millions of 
Iranians, I hate the death penalty; I despise 
discrimination and injustice against women; I protest 
against the imprisonment and torture of political and 
civil rights activists in solitary confinement; and I 
will not be silent in the face of human rights 
violations."

"Thoughts and dreams don't die. Belief in freedom 
and justice does not perish with imprisonment, 
torture or even death and tyranny do not prevail 
over freedom, even when they rely on the power of 
the state."

Narges is a brave woman and she can really 
write!

It's been two years now with no word on the 
whereabouts or status of Gao Zhisheng since he 
was "disappeared" in August 2017. Amnesty has 
marked this sad anniversary with the 
publication of an article about Gao, written by 
his friend and fellow activist Teng Biao:

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/08
/bravest-lawyer-china-gao-zhisheng/

Here is an excerpt from the above article:

"The Bravest Lawyer in China" - Gao Zhisheng
By Teng Biao - Legal scholar and friend of Gao 
Zhisheng
13 August 2019, 07:55 UTC

Gao Zhisheng is a prominent human rights lawyer in 
China. Over the years, he has been persecuted, 
kidnapped and sentenced to prison. In August 2017, 
he went missing again and has not been seen since.



In 2004, I noticed an open letter to the National 
People's Congress calling attention to the issue of 
Falun Gong, a religious group in China. By then, 
practitioners of Falun Gong had been subjected to 
large-scale persecutions for five years, but nobody 
dared to speak up for them. It was very courageous 
for a lawyer to openly speak about the issue, so I took 
note of his name: Gao Zhisheng.

The human rights movement in China was just 
beginning to take off. Active human rights lawyers 
totaled no more than 20 people. I was eager to meet 
Gao and was lucky to be able to do so within a few 
weeks of the open letter. He was tall, spirited and 
features that radiated with health. I remembered him 
to be friendly and humorous, and his laughter 
echoed throughout the room. Nothing angered him 
more than injustice. We chatted late into the night 
and, very soon after, began working on human rights 
cases together.

The first case was that of Cai Zhuohua, a pastor at a 
house church in Beijing who, together with members 
of his family, was arrested for operating an illegal 
business after printing multiple copies of the Bible. It 
was the first time I witnessed Gao's grace and 
eloquence in court. The court disrespected the lawful 
right of Cai's mother to observe the hearing, and Gao 
denounced the judge with fervent conviction. After 
that, Gao and I would often attend services at house 
churches in Beijing and he even got baptized later.

Another case we took on was the case of Shaanxi Oil. 
At the time, one of the lawyers on the case, Zhu 
Jiuhu, was arrested and imprisoned at the Shaanxi 
Yulin Detention Centre. We went to represent him 
and took pictures at the entrance before we left. Not 
long after, more than a dozen armed policemen 
rushed towards us and interrogated us for taking 
those pictures. They thought they could frighten us, 
but we were experienced in such interrogation and 
firmly rebutted them. After that, Gao lamented, "If 
this is how they treat lawyers in suits, can you 
imagine what they'd do to the people living around 
here?"

On the way back, we stopped by Gao's home in 
Jiaxian and squatted in the courtyard eating noodles. 
I will never forget his cave home, his taciturn brother 
and the dry and barren land that surrounded us.



Amnesty International Group 22
The Caltech Y
Mail Code C1-128
Pasadena, CA 91125
www.its.caltech.edu/~aigp22/
Find us on Facebook - search "Amnesty Pasadena"

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.