This is our current newsletter, except that Urgent Actions have been removed since they are not public domain. If you would like a copy of our newsletter (either electronically or via snail-mail) please contact us.
* Coordinator's Corner * Planning Meeting Highlights Group 22 stalwarts met for a planning meeting in September to take the long view of past, present and future activities. As usual we were full of ideas for the months ahead and with your help we hope to be able to pull of some great campaigns and special events. Future monthly meetings will focus on such topics as the new Turkey campaign, a Tibetan celebration (with food), strategy session for a meeting with our new congressional representative, refugee campaign launch and readings and discussion on the topic of cultural relativism. Some proposed special events include a letter-writing session at a local coffee shop for Human Rights Day and inviting Chinese democracy activist and astrophysicist, Fang Lizhi to speak at Caltech on the topic of science and human rights. Also up for discussion were ways to do better outreach both at Caltech and in the community through follow-up calls, use of public display areas and publications as well as targeting area institutions- everything from Arts Center to Fuller Seminary. We even retooled our monthly meeting agendas to have introductions made mid-meeting to make sure we don't leave out the latecomers! These are all great ideas and we could really use everyone's help to put it all in motion. We hope you can join us soon and get "plugged in." Finally, we are planning to have a rummage sale soon, so save your "stuff" and plan to help us out with this annual fund-raiser, probably in early 1997. Now for the short term, at our monthly meeting in October we will be continuing our introduction to the Turkey campaign with a look at the plight of writers and journalists in at country. Be sure to check out the great opportunity described elsewhere in the newsletter for an "intensive" Amnesty experience at the Western Regional Conference in Irvine! Martha Ter Maat Group Coordinator 818-281-4039 firstname.lastname@example.org Upcoming Events Monthly Meeting, Caltech Y Lounge Thursday, October 24, 7:30 PM Saturday, October 26 Walk for Humanity (See article for details) Western Regional Conferece - Irvine Friday- Sunday, November 8-10 (See article for details) Letter-writing Meeting, Rathskellar Wednesday, November 13, 7:30 PM Video Night: "Frontline: Red Star Over Tibet" Tuesday, November 19, 7:30 PM, Catalina Rec Rm. 1 The Web-tips of the month. October These web sites are presented by individual group members as background resources and fun places to explore only. No endorsement of specific contents by Amnesty International should be implied. Tibetan Children in Exile: An Exhibit http://zymurgy.cs.pdx.edu/ amnesty/tibet/ This online exhibit of children's are is making it's way to Irvine for our Western Regional Conference, November 8-10. The openinng reception for the exhibit will be on Friday night, November 8. Group 22 members will be participating in this event with a table featuring Ngawang Pekar, our Tibetan Prisoner of Conscience. Volunteers are needed! If interested, please contact Martha or Revae! If you can't make it to Irvine, then check out the online version! Coalition for International Justice http://www.cij.org/cij/ The Coalition for International Justice is an international, non-profit organization working to support the Yugoslavia and Rwanda war crimes tribunals. The Coalition provides support through advocacy, fundraising, working with other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's), and by providing technical legal assistance. The site includes sound files and case information from the current war crimes tribunal plus factual and legal resources about Yugoslavia, Rwanda, various international legal treaties and conventions World Premiere of Star Trek: First Contact! *A benefit for Amnesty International. Spread the word to all your Trekker friends! The premiere will be on Monday, Nov. 18th at the Mann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. Ticket sales will benefit Amnesty International USA. Tickets are limited and will cost 200. This includes both the premiere and the afterparty with the cast and others. Please send your name, address, and how many tickets you would like to Hilary Addington, email@example.com. For further information please call Amnesty International at 310-836-2943. THe China Campaign * Tong Yi Released! An assistant to leading Chinese democracy campaigner Wei Jingsheng was released after 2 1/2 years in a labor camp. Tong Yi said she was not allowed to read anything for all of 1995 and had to work in silence at the Hewan labor camp on the outskirts of the central city of Wuhan. Police detained her on April 4, 1994; she was charged 4 months later with forging an offical seal, but the charge was dropped. Instead, authorities sent her to Hewan, a punishment they could imppose without trial. Tong, 28. served as Wei's secretary and translator during 7 months of freedom the activist enjoyed between prison sentences. She learned only in January that Wei was sentenced a month earlier to 14 years in prison for trying to overthrow the government, an ambiguous charge under China's criminal law. Many group members have written letters on her behalf these past two years as Tong Yi was a featured case in both the China and Women's campaigns. *China Campaign Focuses on Women The official China campaign has wound down but as reported elsewhere in the newsletter we have to cause to celebrate with the release of Tong Yi, one of the featured prisoners in the campaign. Time to turn our attention to some of the very last actions issued during the campaign to highlight the plight of Chinese women one year after the UN Women's Conference in Beijing. The women featured in this sample letter who have been detained or apprehended for the expression of their political beliefs have been chosen to represent the many political prisoners who have been detained, harrassed and imprisoned in China. One aspect of the arrest and detention of female political activists is the lack of basic information including confirmation and clarification of their status. It is often unclear if formal charges are made against those Amnesty believes have been apprehended, nor is it clear if they are given a formal trial. SAmple letter: (Minister of Public Security) Tao Siju Buzhang Gong anbu 14 Dongchang anlu Beijingshi 100741 People's Republic of China Dear Minister Tao: I am writing to you out of concern for the cases of Guo Dansheng, a teacher at Lanzhou University, Yang Tao of Yunnan Province, Zhou Yongfang, a clerical worker and Zhou Ying, a student and Mukarram Hadji Nenmin, a 24 year old ethnic Uygur woman from Xinjiang province. All of these women are believed to be in detention. I wish to request clarification as to their status and current whereabouts. It appears that all of these women were apprehended for the peaceful expression of their right to freedom of expression and association. I these women are still detained without trial, the formal charges laid against them should be made public, and they should be brought promptly to a fair and open trial, with full rights to a defense, in accordance with international standards. I thank you for your assistance in this very important matter. Yours Sincerely, Deputy Regional Director to speak in Pasadena! Joe Baker, Deputy Regional Director for AIUSA-West will be speaking at All Saints Church (132 N. Euclid) on Sunday, November 24 at 12:45 PM on the topic "Race and the Death Penalty." A light lunch will be available (donation encouraged). All who would like to participate in a discussion of how Pasadena activists who oppose the death penalty can work together to be more effective are especially encouraged to attend. This event is sponsored by the anti-racism group All Saints/COLORS. Join Walk for Humanity Set for October 26 Walk for Humanity is a protest against capital punishment in California. Participants will walk three sections of the route from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica on Saturday, October 26, 1996. The purposes of the walk are: To present reasoned opposition to capital punishment and to spread this information to the public through the media attention that will be generated; To send a clear message to Sacramento that a significant and committed segment of the voting population demands the abolition of the death penalty in the State of California; To build a community of like-minded individuals who, by focusing their strength toward a common purpose, will empower one another. Activists will convene at 9:30 AM at the Santa Barbara County Courthouse (Anacapa and Anapamu Streets) and continue on city streets to Olive Mill Road in Montecito. At that point participants will board buses to Oxnard where they will walk through downtown. Walkers will eat lunch at Plaza Park in Oxnard (approx. 1:30 PM) and then board buses which will drop them off at Appian Way and Seaside in Santa Monica (approx. 3:30 PM) where they will walk to Lincoln Park for a rally with speakers and musicians (approx. 4:00 PM). The entire distance covered by the Walk for Humanity is about 100 miles; the distance actually walked is about 8 miles. A 25 donation (includes T-shirt) to cover expenses is encouraged. Los Angeles area activists who would like to take a bus to Santa Barbara should call Annie Kirchner: 805-884-0963. For pre-registration materials or more information contact: Annie Kirchner, Coordinator 805-884-0963 / firstname.lastname@example.org Walk for Humanity P.O. Box 92010 Santa Barbara, CA 93190-2010 The Turkey Campaign * Metin Goktepe - journalist killed One of the foci of Amnesty International's Turkey Campaign is human rights violations committed against journalists and writers. While pressure on journalists is greatest in the southeast, reporters covering the activities of the state and its security forces are at risk wherever they work. Metin Goktepe, a 28-year-old journalist for Evrensel, was covering the funeral of two political prisoners who had been beaten to death in prison. According to official accounts, 1035 persons were detained in connection with the funeral, and of those 705 were transferred to Eyup Sports Center. This sports center is surrounded by a 3.5-meter-high wall. Witnesses reported to Amnesty International that detainees in the sports center and in the Alibeykoy police station were severely beaten. As confirmed byt the Eyup Public Prosecutor, Metin Goktepe's body was found on January 8 at 8:30 pm near a buffet in the Eyup Sports center. The sports center was used by police as a detention center until 11:30 pm on that day. According to medical experts, Metin Goktepe was clearly beaten to death. The autopsy report of January 9 by the Forensic Medicine Department at Istanbul University revealed that Metin Goktepe's death "resulted from a subdural and subarachnoidal brain hemorrhage associated with trauma to the head from a blunt object and internal bleeding". A trial against 48 police officers accused in the death of Metin Goktepe opened in Istanbul on 15 July 1996 with international observers present. However, the proceedings were delayed when the judge ordered the trial moved to a court in Aydin, 400 miles from Istanbul, with the next trial date to be set by the court in Aydin. There have also been reports of intimidation of several key witnesses. RECOMMENDED ACTION: Write to the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Interior, and the Prime Minister. Express appreciation for the investigation into the death of Metin Goktepe and the opening of a trial against the accused killers. Express concern that the trial be conducted fairly and impartially and that all the witnesses in the trial be protected from intimidation and ill-treatment. Write to:: Mr. Necmettin Erbakan (salutation "Your Excellency") Office of the Prime Minister Basbakanlik 06573 Ankara TURKEY Mehmet Agar (salutation "Dear Minister") Ministry of Interior Dileri Bakanl 06644 Ankara TURKEY Sevket Kazan (salutation "Dear Minister") Ministry of Justice Adalet Bakanligi 06659 Ankara TURKEY Send copies of your appeals to the Embassy of Turkey in Washington DC Ambassador Nuzhet Kandemir Turkish Embassy 1714 Massachusetts Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20036 Phone (202) 659-8200 Fax (202) 659-0744 POC Case - China/Tibet Over 100 Petitions Received! Sending a copy of our group petition on our Prisoner of Conscience (POC) case to the national AI office for distribution to all Amnesty groups was wildly successful! So far, we have received over 100 petitions from groups from Maine to Honolulu! The pe titions were addressed to Li Peng and we will make copies of them to send to President Clinton, the U.S. ambassador to China, the Chinese ambassador in the U.S., the head of the People's Party Committee in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and anyone else we c an think of!! The response was really heartwarming; it's great to know we have so much support out there!!! In case you're not familiar with it, our POC is a Tibetan monk named Ngawang Pekar who was sentenced to 8 years in prison for participating in a peaceful demonstration in support of independence for Tibet. We are working to have Ngawang set free! Help us by writing a letter to the Chinese authorities asking for his release. This month's letter is going to the head of the regional party committee (the communist party), Secretary Chen, in the Tibet Autonomous Region (Xizang), as China refers to Tib et. Write to: Chen Kuiyuan Shuji Zhonggong Xizang Zizhiqu Weiyuanhui, Lasashi Xizang Zizhiqu People's Republic of China A sample letter follows: Dear Secretary Chen: I am writing in regard to the case of Ngawang Pekar, a monk who was arrested in August 1989 and sentenced to 8 years in prison for his participation in a demonstration. I am concerned that he was arrested for the peaceful exercise of his conscience and has been denied access to medical care since his arrest. I urge that his health be checked and that he be provided any needed medical attention as soon as possible. I also ask that, if he has been imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of his con science, that he been immediately and unconditionally released in accordance with the international laws to which China subscribes. Sincerely, Western Regional Conference in Irvine Nov 8-10 This year AIUSA's Western Regional Conference will be held on November 8-10 in Irvine at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue. (714-553-0100 or 800-228-9200). The theme for the conference is "The Uprooted-Refugees in the United States and Around the World," a preview of the up-coming 1997 worldwide refugee campaign. Other highlights include a Friday night reception for the exhibit "Tibetan Children in Exile" (see Web Tips for additional information) and a Saturday evening showing of the film "Calling the Ghosts," an award-winning new documentary which chronicles the struggle and fight for justice of two rape survivors from Bosnia. A discussion with the filmmaker will follow. In addition to these special events there will be the usual array of workshops on topics ranging from the death penalty, legislative action, gay and lesbian issues, military, security and police transfers, refugees, women's human rights, the Turkey campaign and more. Everyone is welcome to attend for all or part of the conference. Don't miss this great opportunity to learn more about Amnesty, meet other AI activists from around the 13-state Western Region, and just have a great time! On site registration is 20 General and 15 Student/Senior/Limited Income. For more information or to volunteer at the conference (we here in Southern California are the hosts after all!) call the Regional Office at 310-815-0450 and ask to speak to Norma. * Editor's last words. Write for the newsletter! Commentaries, suggestions are always welcomed. You can also read the newsletter on line at: http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ aigp22/home.html Check out the web-tips links. Roberto (818)796-0876 email@example.com http://www.cco.caltech.edu/ rzenit/rzenit.html Amnesty International works impartially to free prisoners of conscience-individuals jailed solely for their beliefs, ethnic origin, language, or sexual orientation, provided they have not used or advocated violence-to ensure fair trials for all political prisoners, and to abolish torture and executions worldwide. It is funded by members and supporters around the world.