Amnesty International Group 22 Pasadena/Caltech News Volume XXIV Number 5, May 2016 UPCOMING EVENTS Thursday, May 26, 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, June 14, 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 19, 6:30 PM. Rights Readers Human Rights Book Discussion group. This month we read "Blood-Drenched Beard" by Daniel Galera. COORDINATOR'S CORNER Hi everyone Did you see the article in the New York Times Sunday Magazine on the issue of legalizing prostitution? Those of us who attended the Western Regional in LA remember this discussion! (some of us not so fondly!) Here's the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/magazi ne/should-prostitution-be-a-crime.html?_r=0 Con Carino, Kathy Next Rights Readers meeting: Sunday, June 19 6:30 PM Vroman's Bookstore (upstairs) 695 E. Colorado Blvd Pasadena Blood-Drenched Beard: A Novel by Daniel Galera RIGHTS READERS Human Rights Book Discussion Group Keep up with Rights Readers at http://rightsreaders.blogspot.com AUTHOR BIO Daniel Galera is a Brazilian writer, translator and editor. He was born in Sao Paulo, but was raised and spent most of his life in Porto Alegre, until 2005 when he went back to Sao Paulo. He is considered by critics to be one of the most influential young authors in Brazilian literature. Daniel is one of the founders of the publishing house Livros do Mal and had some of his works adapted into plays and movies. BOOK REVIEW BLOOD-DRENCHED BEARD by Daniel Galera, translated by Alison Entrekin KIRKUS REVIEW Pensive, sometimes oppressive, altogether impressive novel by a young writer only now becoming known outside Brazil. A translator of Zadie Smith and David Mitchell, Galera here blends some of the wistfulness of Latin American magical realism with a brooding dystopianism. His Macondo is a place called Garopaba, a beach town that the world pretty well forgets once the season is over. There, a blameless and nameless young man, left in the world without family or friends, finds an anchorage of sorts and even something like love: "Jasmim is the first person he has ever met," our narrator tells us, "who knows what prosopagnosia is." Prosopa what? Well, the young man has an unfortunate condition that causes him to forget faces, which makes it altogether too easy for bullies to victimize him without him being able to identify the assailant. So they do, but they 'fess up to things like stealing his faithful old canine companion: "I forget people's faces," he says. "Now who was it?" Says the bad guy, "It was me," knowing that his victim won't remember in a minute, that he isn't even capable of hating his enemies, since he can't tell them apart from anyone else. His tormentors may have cause to behave badly, though, since, as the young man learns, his grandfather, who was killed in Garopaba, may not have been altogether undeserving of his fate. Galera writes lyrically of a land of jungle and beach, even when the mood turns Hitchcock- ian: "He steps on a loose stone, and his fall is broken by his backpack, but his elbow gets a good whack, and he feels the pain travel up his arm to his shoulder like an electric shock." The mystery mounts: Will the young man plunge onto the rocks below? Will those he trusts betray him? Are we really made of stardust? All will be revealed, though Galera warns on the last count, "Stop talking like hippies." An elegant, literate and literary mystery of appearances and disappearances. Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 2015 ISBN: 978-1-59420-574-3 Page count: 384pp Publisher: Penguin Press Review Posted Online https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book- reviews/daniel-galera/blood-drenched-beard PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE Narges Mohammadi by Joyce Wolf (for Alexi Daher) The Revolutionary Court of Iran has notified Narges Mohammadi's family of the results of the trial that began on April 20. She is sentenced to serve 10 years in prison for charges stemming from her human rights activism. https://www.iranhumanrights.org/2016/05/n arges-mohammadi-13/ On May 19 Alexi received an email from Jean- Christophe of Amnesty Belgium: "Narges has 20 days to appeal. And she will do so. Shall we try to do something quickly?" Today Alexi proposed a "tweet-storm" similar to what we did in April, and immediately got an enthusiastic response from Amnesty Denmark. Alexi will tell us the date soon as it has been decided and provide other details of the action. DEATH PENALTY NEWS By Stevi Carroll Justice That Works Justice That Works is the name of the campaign to put the abolition of the death penalty in California on the November ballot. I have yet to receive any information from Amnesty International USA/CA about how we can be useful in this campaign. I have signed up our group as endorsing this measure. At this point, the most important thing we can do is contribute to the campaign at http://www.justicethatworks.org/ and as individuals endorse the campaign, also at this link. Education about Justice That Works will be vital during this election cycle. This measure will be competing with another ballot measure that asks voters if they would like to hire more lawyers to defend death row inmates thus speed up the trials, streamline the appeals process, and change the lethal injection protocol to one drug. I am not sure what the pro-death penalty campaign is called, but it is essential voters know the difference. California one-drug protocol I received a letter from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation saying the public comment period regarding the proposed amendments that would allow the one-drug protocol has been extended to July 11, 2016. These repeated extensions may be because of the two ballot measures California voters will decide in November. I don't know, but if you have not yet submitted your thoughts, you can email them to LI.email@example.com. Amnesty International USA also has an online petition at http://www.amnestyusa.org/california_deathpenalty Pfizer In past columns, I've talked about pharmaceutical companies not selling drugs that could be used in executions to the prison systems in the US. This month Pfizer joined the club. According to an article in the LA Times, "Pfizer's decision to block the use of its drugs in lethal injections means that all federally approved pharmaceutical companies whose medications could be used for executions have put them off limits." Last year Pfizer bought Hospira Inc., a company that had already prohibited the use of its drugs in executions. Now approximately 25 FDA- approved companies worldwide that were able to make drugs to be used in execution have been blocked from providing those drugs to kill death row inmates. This action still leaves the door open for compounding pharmacies to make lethal-injection drugs. In response to these bans on drugs, many states are turning to other methods to kill. Utah has approved the use of firing squads, Oklahoma nitrogen gas, and Tennessee the electric chair. The US Supreme Court may have to weigh in on changes. Recent Exonerations Eddie Bolden State: IL Date of Exoneration: 4/19/2016 In 1996, Eddie Bolden was convicted of two murders and an attempted murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was exonerated in 2016 when witnesses testified Bolden was inside a nearby restaurant at the time of the shootings. Jack McCullough State: IL Date of Exoneration: 4/22/2016 In 2012, Jack McCullough was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the 1957 abduction and murder of a 7-year-old girl in Sycamore, Illinois. He was exonerated in 2016 after the prosecution reinvestigated the case and concluded McCullough's original alibi was true. Paul Gatling State: NY Date of Exoneration: 5/2/2016 In 1964, Paul Gatling pled guilty to murder in Brooklyn, New York, and was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. His sentence was commuted and he was paroled in 1974. Gatling was exonerated in 2016 after a re-investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office Conviction Review Unit uncovered evidence that the victim's wife - the only eyewitness - may have lied about the killing. source: http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration Stays of Execution April 20 Gregory Lott OH* 27 Robert Pruett TX Date changed to August 23, 2016 May 2 Stephen Treiber PA 3 Shonda Dee Walter PA 11 Terry Darnell Edwards TX Date Changed to October 19, 2016 12 Vernon Madison AL 18 Angelo Fears OH* Executions April 27 Daniel Lucas GA Lethal Injection (1-drug Pentobarbital) May 11 Earl Forrest MO Lethal Injection (1-drug Pentobarbital) ¥ All 2016 Ohio executions granted a reprieve because new execution drugs could not be obtained. GROUP 22 MAY LETTER COUNT UA for POC 13 Other UAs 13 Other Actions (Write For Rights) 5 Total 31 To add your letters to the total contact firstname.lastname@example.org Can't Join Group 22 for Letter Writing? Sign up for the Urgent Action Network: http://www.amnestyusa.org/uan You can select the regions of the world or the human rights issues for which you will receive Urgent Actions. Most important of all, you can choose how many Urgent Action emails you wish to receive per month! Group 22 member Vincent DeStefano has been participating in the UAN for many years. Vincent recalls writing letters for imprisoned Czech playwright Vaclav Havel, who went on to become president of his country. Perhaps sometime we can get Vinnie to share his system for organizing UAs and letters! 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.