Amnesty International’s Miami chapter meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 8: 00 p m. at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables 33134


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Join us!!

Amnesty International’s Miami chapter meets on the second Wednesday of every month at 8:00 p.m. at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables 33134.

Our next meeting will be on September 10, 2014

Why We Do Human Rights Work

The success that we highlight this month is of a rare type—the acquittal and release of a death row prisoner in China. Nian Bin was accused of using rat poison in an attempt on the lives of his neighbors. Two people died, and four were injured, in such attacks in Fujian province in July 2006, but Nian Bin asserted his innocence, saying that he was tortured into a confession during police interrogation.

Since his first trial in February 2008, Nian Bin has gone through a trial of first instance, three appeals, a Supreme People’s Court review and three retrials, all of which were ordered due to insufficient evidence. Finally, he was acquitted by the Fujian Provincial High People’s Court in late August.

While we can celebrate his acquittal, thousands of other Chinese citizens are put to death each year—some, undoubtedly, for crimes they never committed.


 


Protecting Human Rights in China

You can follow AI’s work on China at

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/asia-and-the-pacific/china


gao zhisheng, in beijing on apr. 7, 2010.
Tempering the wonderful news we reported last month of the release from prison of Chinese lawyer Gao Zhisheng, is news that he suffered, while in prison, from abuse such as being deprived of sufficient food, and not being allowed to communicate with anyone—even prison staff. He is said to have suffered serious physical and psychological damage as a result.

His wife, Geng He, who escaped China with the couple’s two children in 2009, and is now in the U.S., has called on President Obama to allow her husband to come here.

Veteran activists Zhang Xiaoyu and Xu Youchen have been severely beaten by police in Henan Province, after they were detained on suspicion of killing a policeman. The authorities are denying them access to lawyers, and they are at grave risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

On July 21, after demanding to meet the couple, lawyer Chang Weiping was summoned by police and interrogated for 12 hours. He was named as a witness in the case, effectively preventing him from representing them. On July 25, four other lawyers met with the couple, who said they had been severely beaten by police in Jiaozuo. Zhang Xiaoyu has nearly lost her eyesight as a result, while Xu Youchen has serious injuries to his face. Zhang Xiaoyu said that she did not know someone was killed until she heard people screaming.

There have also been other procedural irregularities with the couple’s case. The body of the policeman allegedly killed by the couple was cremated on July 21, only four days after he died, making it impossible to determine the exact time and cause of death. In addition, their lawyers’ request to move the case to another district, to avoid any conflict of interest, was rejected. The couple was formally charged with intentional homicide on August 2.

Will you please appeal to the Chinese authorities for the well-being of Zhang Xiaoyu and Xu Youchen? We have included a sample letter below. Postage to China is $1.15.
Ambassador Cui Tiankai

Embassy of the People's Republic of China
3505 International Place, NW

Washington DC 20008

Tel: 202 495-2266, Fax: 1 202 495-2138
Email: chinaembpress_us@mfa.gov.cn
Director of Jiaozuo Municipal People's Procuratorate 
ZHU Yabing 
Jiaozuo Municipal People's Procuratorate 
Taihang Middle Rd, Shanyang, Jiaozuo, Henan 454002 
People’s Republic of China 
Your Excellency,

I wish to appeal to you for the proper treatment of Zhang Xiaoyu and Xu Youchen, who now stand accused of murder—perhaps falsely—in Henan Province. During any time that they are detained, I most strongly urge that their human rights to freedom from any type of abuse be protected, and that they have full access to their family, lawyers and any needed medical care.

Thank you very much, Your Excellency.
Sincerely,










Human Rights in Sudan

AI’s concerns on Sudan can be seen at http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/africa/sudan
Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, a leader of the opposition National Umma Party (NUP), was arrested on arrival at Khartoum airport on August 11. She was returning from a meeting in Paris of the NUP and the Sudan Revolutionary Front, a coalition of armed opposition groups, which resulted in a joint statement advocating political reform in Sudan. Her family learned of her arrest when they went to the airport to meet her on arrival and she did not appear.

The NISS has not informed Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi’s family of any charges against her, nor disclosed which of the detention facilities across Khartoum she is currently detained in. Her husband has visited the NISS headquarters on an almost daily basis to request information on her location and to apply for a visit, but has so far been unsuccessful.

We ask that you send an appeal to any of the Sudanese authorities whose contact information we have included here, using the letter below if you wish. Postage to Sudan is $1.15.
Your Excellency,

I am deeply concerned about the well-being of Mariam al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, who was arrested on August 11. I call upon your government to either charge her with a recognizable criminal offense or immediately release her. She should also be able to meet with her family, legal counsel and medical personnel.

More broadly, I strongly urge that all of Sudan’s citizens be allowed to express their political opinions without fear of retaliation.

I thank you for your time in this matter, Your Excellency.
Sincerely,

H.E. Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

2210 Massachusetts Ave. NW

Washington DC 20008

Tel: 202-338-8565, Fax: 202-667-2406
H.E. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir

Office of the President, People’s Palace

PO Box 281

Khartoum, Sudan
Minister of Justice Mohamed Bushara Dousa

Ministry of Justice, PO Box 302 Al Nil Avenue

Khartoum, Sudan
Security with Human Rights

More information on AI’s concerns can be found at:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/security-with-human-rights

http://www.e-activist.com/ea-campaign/action.retrievefile.do?ea_fileid=46226

Qandi Agha, a former detainee held by U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan, has spoken out on daily torture sessions he endured while in custody. "Four people beat me with cables. They tied my legs together and beat the soles of my feet with a wooden stick. They punched me in the face and kicked me."

Agha said that both U.S. and Afghan forces participated in the torture sessions. He also said that four of the prisoners held with him were killed while he was in imprisoned, including Sayed Muhammed, whose killing he witnessed.

Thousands of civilians have been killed by U.S. forces since the war in Afghanistan’s beginning, but victims and their families have little chance of justice. Evidence of possible war crimes by US forces has largely been ignored.

You can join Amnesty International in calling for investigations of civilian deaths, accountability, and reform of the US military justice system, at http://act.amnestyusa.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1839&ea.campaign.id=30908&ea.tracking.id=Country_USA~MessagingCategory_CrisisPreventionandResponse~MessagingCategory_SecurityandHR~MessagingCategory_Torture~Region_MiddleEastandNorthAfrica~Country_Afghanistan

Death Penalty News (Can You Make One Appeal?)

(Further material on capital punishment is available on the websites of Amnesty International’s Program to Abolish the Death penalty (http://www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/) and Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (FADP) (http://www.fadp.org/)

In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, a victim's family member in Missouri described her mixed feelings about the death penalty and the executions that have occurred there. Laura Friedman wrote, "Death penalty supporters talk of closure. That may work as a matter of process — execution rids the state and the justice system of any further involvement — but it is much more complicated for families of victims. Each envelope from the Department of Corrections, each anniversary when the crime is recounted in the paper, every discussion about the death penalty on TV — those are reopenings, not closings."

Friedman said many aspects of the death penalty were disturbing: "I am troubled by the number of minorities on death row (more than half), by the preponderance of whites among their victims (about 80 percent, even though blacks and whites are victims in roughly equal numbers). I am troubled by the evidence that juries and judges make unconscionable mistakes (144 death-row inmates exonerated since 1973). And I am troubled by the pretense of execution as a medical procedure: As drug makers and medical personnel back away from participating in lethal injections, states are experimenting on condemned men with untested drug combinations and inadequately trained personnel while concealing the source, skills and methods used." She concluded with the uncertain hope that the process "will finally bring an end to killing in our lives.” More can be seen at http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/node/5870
There was one execution last month, in Missouri, where Michael Worthington was put to death. But there were three stays of execution, as well, granted to Patrick Stollar and Glenn Lyons in Pennsylvania, and Leon Taylor in Missouri.

Will you take one minute to make even a single appeal for any of those now facing execution? Please seek, in each case, a commutation of sentence to life in prison.

Missouri: Earl Ringo, Jr. faces death on September 10. Please make appeals to: Governor Jay Nixon, 216 State Capitol, P.O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102 Fax:(314)751-1495, Tel:(573)751-3222, email can be sent via: http://governor.mo.gov/contact/

Texas: Now facing death are Willie Trottie on September 10, and Lisa Coleman seven days later. Please request of Governor Rick Perry that he grant, in each case, a 30-day stay of execution (the most he is allowed to do on his own under Texas law), and clemency if it is recommended by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. Please request of the Board that it make a recommendation to the Governor in favor of a commutation of sentence to life in prison, which is required before he may grant one. Appeals may be made to: Governor Rick Perry, Office of the Governor, P.O. Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711-2418, phone: 512-463-1782, fax: 512-463-1849, e-mail: Fill out the form at the bottom of the page at: http://www2.governor.state.tx.us./contact/ You may reach the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles at: Attn: Ms. Rissie L. Owens, Presiding Officer, Executive Clemency Section: PO Box 13401, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711-3401, phone: 512-406-5943, fax: 512-467-0945, email: bpp-pio@tdcj.state.tx.us

Tennessee: An execution date of October 7 has been set for Billy Ray Irick. Please contact Governor Bill Haslam at: State Capitol/ Nashville, TN 37243-0001/ phone: 615-741-2001/ e-mail: bill.haslam@tn.gov


Amnesty International-USA Local Group 248

Coordinator: Krishen Rangi: krishenrangi@gmail.com, 305-300-9835

Human Rights in Tibet/ China: Silvia Sarasua, miafriendstibet@hotmail.com
Treasurer: Donna Ragland, bigdhlwd@aol.com

Area Coordinator: Michael Andrews, mandrews17@mindspring.com, 305-673-2183
Death Penalty and Newsletter: Steven Wetstein, swetstein2@aol.com, 305-226-2480


 


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