Sunday, December 11, 2011

Human Rights Day 2011

The Human Rights Commission of Amherst Town along with Amnesty International Chapter (Group 128) held its annual celebration event in the Town Hall to mark the Human Rights Day... artists came to participate from as far as Holyoke City and Manchester, NH... 2 popular Sudanese artists (refugees from Sudan) participated; Abdalla Mohamed Abdalla (Flute) and Tamador Gibreel (Drum & Vocal)...
In this photo (by Reynolds Winslow) The Human Rights Director of Amherst Town, Eunice Torres, speaks with artists before their performance... Also, next to Tamador, sits activist Fanny Rothschild. Fanny is an important voice for Sudanese refugees in the Pioneer Valley and helping a lot in exposing the human rights violations in Sudan. The actions of Fanny and many other activists in the Valley helped to save the Girifna leaders (a human rights group) from torture on the hands of the sudanese regime.

Prior to this event, a group of 20 activists hold a candle vigil the night before and reflected on the human rights around the globe while they read the 30 Articles of the Universal Human Rights Declaration

Happy Human Rights Day....

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Human Rights Day 2011

Photo source
From the UN Website
"This year, millions of people decided the time had come to claim their rights. They took to the streets and demanded change. Many found their voices using the internet and instant messaging to inform, inspire and mobilize supporters to seek their basic human rights. Social media helped activists organize peaceful protest movements in cities across the globe - from Tunis to Madrid, from Cairo to New York - at times in the face of violent repression.
Human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values. As a global community we all share a day in common: Human Rights Day on 10 December, when we remember the creation 63 years ago of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On Human Rights Day 2011, we pay tribute to all human rights defenders and ask you to get involved in the global human rights movement."

Come and join us in downtown Amherst on Fri 12/9 @ 6pm (at the corner of Main and South Pleasant streets) in our annual vigil to observe this important day... The Town's Human Rights Commission and many other human rights activists will be gathering to read the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Human Rights Composer: Nigel Cox

Our dear long-time member of Amnesty International and UMass music professor emeritus Nigel Coxe was featured in the current issue of Amherst Bulletin

He performed last weekend at UMASS Amherst in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hungarian composer Franz Liszt.

read more here:
Lisztomania! Local pianist traces his training to Franz Liszt

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Georgia has just killed Troy Anthony Davis"

"After a torturous delay of more than 4 hours, the state of Georgia has just killed Troy Anthony Davis."

  wrote Amnesty International in a Press release just went out few minutes ago..
The state of Georgia may have taken one life tonight, but they cannot stop our struggle for all the Troy Davises of the world.

I just came back from Downtown Amherst... all the joy we've had earlier in the night has gone and replaced by sadness and anger....
A short few hours of hope that not lasted....

let's wipe our tears... and continue the hard work ahead...

Slight Hope: Execution on Hold for Troy Davis

The joy after they heard
the good news

The anger @ 7pm in
downtown Amherst

 "The state of Georgia isn't proceeding with the execution until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on Davis' request for a stay. Davis' attorneys filed the request about an hour before Davis' scheduled 7 p.m. execution.

Davis' supporters, who had been chanting, are now letting out cheers as drivers pass and honk their horns. Otherwise, the mood is tense as they wait for a development, Lacey-Bordeaux reports."
In Amherst, MA, a large crowd of students, human rights activists rallied in downtown and forced traffic to slow and blocked the main road at 7pm, the time of the execution.

Ester and the tears of joy

A moment of joy when the good news arrived

Friday, September 16, 2011

Don’t Let Georgia Kill Troy Davis

Posted by: Laura Moye, September 7, 2011 at 1:36 PM
The day is now here – the state of Georgia has set Troy Davis’ execution datefor September 21st.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear his final appeal earlier this year. But the story remains the same – Troy Davis could very well be innocent.
However, in the state of Georgia, the Board of Pardons & Paroles holds the keys to Troy’s fate. In the days before Davis’ execution, this Board will hold a final clemency hearing – a final chance to prevent Troy Davis from being executed.
Davis was convicted on the basis of witness testimony – seven of the nine original witnesses have since recanted or changed their testimony.
One juror said in a CNN news interview:“If I knew then, what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row.”
I know it’s difficult to believe that a system of justice could be so terribly flawed, but keep in mind that Troy has survived three previous execution dates, because people like you kept the justice system in check!
We’ve been bracing for this moment and the time for action is now! Here’s what you can do to join the fight:
1. Sign our petition to the Board of Pardons & Paroles urging them to grant clemency! We’ll deliver your signatures next week.
2. Organize for Troy: Take to the streets with us on Friday, September 16th! Sign up to organize a rally to stop the execution of Troy Davis. And RSVP for the International Day of Solidarity on Facebook.
3. Join our #TooMuchDoubt Twitter campaign: Spread the word about this injustice by tweeting a “Doubt a Day” about Troy’s storyTo Amherst Human Rights Commission, and human rights and justice activists,

Group-128 Action Campaign: This Friday, September 16, Amnesty International, Equal Justice, and other organizations are holding actions around the country to try to stave off the execution of Troy Davis in Georgia. We are looking for individuals and organizations, such as the Amherst Human Rights Commission, to participate. Right now we are thinking of a stand-out in Amherst center and the collection of signatures to FAX imediately afterwards to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole. A time has not been determined but lunchtime, noon to 1:30, let's say, may be appropriate.
You probably know most of the story--- witnesses recanting their trial statements and the fact that there has been no physical evidence connecting Davis to the killing of a police officer. In fact, there have been statements that another person admitted to the crime. Nevertheless, an execution date (the fourth one) has been set for September 21. It would be a grave injustice for this execution to go forward and certainly an indelible blot on the name of Georgia.
Please let me know whether you can be part of a Friday action. And, please forward this email to anyone who cares about justice.

Best regards,


Thursday, August 18, 2011

POC: Ayatollah Boroujerdi (Iran)

Case Summary
Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, a 50-year-old Shi’a cleric, is currently imprisoned in Iran for his peaceful religious opinions. Amnesty International considers him to be a prisoner of conscience. Ayatollah Boroujerdi was reportedly ill-treated in detention. He suffers from a number of serious medical conditions including high blood pressure, a cardio-vascular disorder, and a kidney ailment. He has reportedly lost a considerable amount of weight in detention. He has not been receiving necessary medical treatment in detention and there is a serious concern that his health is deteriorating. He had originally been held in Evin Prison in Tehran but was transferred to a prison in Yazd in early December 2008 where he is reportedly only allowed contacts with other people for 15 minutes a day.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi advocates the removal of religion from the political basis of the Iranian state. He was arrested at his home in Tehran on 8 October 2006 along with more than 300 of his followers, during violent clashes with security forces. He and 17 followers were initially sentenced to death, but the death sentences were later dropped. On 13 August 2007 he was sentenced to serve one year in prison in Tehran, followed by ten years in prison in another part of the country. In addition to his sentence of 11 years' imprisonment, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was also defrocked (banned from wearing his clerical robes and thereby from practicing his clerical duties), and his house and all his belongings were confiscated.

He had reportedly been found guilty of at least 30 charges, including "waging war against God" (Moharebeh); acts against national security; publicly calling political leadership by the clergy (Velayat-e Faqih) unlawful; having links with anti-revolutionaries and spies; and using the term "religious dictatorship" instead of "Islamic Republic" in public discourse and radio interviews. Four of his followers Majid Alasti, Mehrdad Souri, Mohammad-Reza Sadeghi and Massoud Samavatiyan had their prison sentences upheld on 3 September 2008.

Since 1994 Ayatollah Boroujerdi says he has been summoned repeatedly before the Special Court for the Clergy and has been detained in Towhid and Evin Prisons. He has reportedly developed heart and kidney problems as a result of torture. His father was a prominent cleric who refused to accept the principle of velayat-e faqih (rule of the [Islamic] jurisconsult, or of those who know Islamic law), on which the Islamic Republic of Iran is based. He died in 2002 and his grave in the Masjed-e Nour mosque in Tehran has reportedly been desecrated and the mosque taken over by the state.

On 30 June 2006 the Ayatollah conducted a large religious ceremony at the Shahid Keshvari stadium in Tehran. On 30 July 2006, the security forces reportedly arrested several of his family and followers at their homes. The security forces also reportedly tried to arrest the Ayatollah himself, but were prevented from doing so by his followers. At least 41 of his followers were reportedly arrested in the courtyard of his house in Tehran during the morning of 28 September 2006. Those arrested were taken to Section 209 of Evin Prison where they were held for about three weeks. Some were reportedly tortured. Among those detained during the series of arrests were the Ayatollah’s 80-year-old mother and six-month-old grandson.

On 10 October 2006, an unattributed article entitled “On the plot of Kazemeyni-Boroujerdi; Propagating Islam with the assistance of the BBC and CIA” appeared in the Iranian newspaper Keyhan. The article described the clash during Ayatollah Bojoujerdi’s arrest as part of a plot by Western intelligence services such as those of the USA, Israel and the UK to use ethnic and religious minorities to damage Iran, and referred to the fact that the Ayatollah had made telephone calls to foreign radio stations such as the Persian-language service of Radio Free Europe (Radio Farda) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) before his arrest.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi's health deteriorated partially as a result of a hunger strike which he started on 19 February 2007. He began his hunger strike to protest the conditions of his detention, and the authorities’ refusal to grant him temporary leave from prison to visit his dying mother prior to her death on 14 February 2007 and to attend her funeral. He was detained in a cold cell without a heater during the winter months. In addition, he allegedly suffered torture and ill-treatment during interrogation. When he appeared before the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC) between 18 and 20 March 2007, an eyewitness reported that he appeared to be bleeding from his mouth, and possibly occasionally coughing up blood. He was reportedly unable to walk upright.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi reportedly appeared at a hearing before the SCC on or around 14 February 2007. According to reports, he may have been charged with “acting against state security.” He had no access to legal representation and he has reportedly complained that he does not know "what they want from him". His bail was allegedly set at five billion Iranian Rials (about $US 564,000). He is reportedly unable to pay this sum.

On 18 February 2007, the cleric's eldest son, Sayed Mahdi Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, was arrested and was detained in Section 209 of Evin Prison, although Amnesty International is not aware of the reasons for his reported detention. Prior to this, since January 2007, both he and another son, Sayed Mohammad, had been summoned several times to appear before the SCC for questioning, allegedly in connection with the activities of their father. On 20 February, Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi's wife – whose name is not known to Amnesty International, was also summoned to appear before the SCC.

On 13 March 2007, an ‘interview’ with Ayatollah Boroujerdi was reportedly shown on local television in Iran. Apparently filmed in Evin Prison, where there is a specially equipped room for such programs, and entitled ‘Lying Claims’, he was wearing a prison uniform. Amnesty International was told that in the program Ayatollah Boroujerdi referred to his ‘lies’ and how his poor followers believed these and how most of his followers were women. Amnesty International was also told that his behavior and manner of speaking made it clear that he was under great stress.

Ayatollah Boroujerdi was sentenced to death in Branch 3 of the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC) on 10 June 2007, after an unfair and closed trial. Six of his followers were also sentenced to death on 13 June 2007. Ayatollah Boroujerdi was reportedly found guilty of at least 30 charges, including "waging war against God" (Moharebeh), for which the punishment is death; acts against national security; publicly calling political leadership by the clergy (Velayat-e Faqih) unlawful; having links with anti-revolutionaries and spies; and using the term "religious dictatorship" instead of "Islamic Republic" in public discourse and radio interviews. Also sentenced to death were: Massoud Samavatiyan, Alireza Montazer Sa’eb, Ali Shahrabi Farahani, Habib Qouti, Ahmad Karimiyan (m), Majid Alasti. On 13 August 2007 Ayatollah Borouderdi’s death sentence was commuted to 11 years imprisonment. The death sentences against his followers were also commuted to prison sentences.

Ayatollah Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi’s medical condition has gravely deteriorated while he has been in detention. On 10 September 2008, Ayatollah Boroujerdi's wife and the family lawyer went to Evin Prison in order for the Ayatollah to sign papers nominating the lawyer. They were denied access to Ayatollah Boroujerdi by the prison authorities. Without prior warning Ayatollah Boroujerdi was summoned to appear before the Special Court for the Clergy (SCC) on 1 September. The SCC tried to force him to give an interview to a government newspaper recanting his beliefs and seeking forgiveness from Iran’s Supreme Leader. On 2 September 2008, his doctor wrote to Iran’s judicial authorities informing them of his patient’s urgent, multiple and complex medical conditions that require immediate medical care outside of the prison. The doctor submitted a diagnosis of Ayatollah Boroujerdi’s heart condition, which is causing chest pains, suggesting that important arteries may be blocked. The Ayatollah also suffers from a kidney condition that causes considerable pain and he has lost around 40kg whilst in detention. He is also in a very poor psychological state. He was transferred to Yazd Prison in Central Iran in December 2008 and was reportedly held in solitary confinement since 27 January 2009.

On 1 May 2009, Ayatollah Boroujerdi wrote a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, requesting that international observers be sent to Iran in order to assist the Iranian people in an open referendum on the system of government. Apparently in retaliation for this letter, Ayatollah Boroujerdi was subjected to beatings on 5 May. He went on a hunger strike to protest the beatings and the suspension of his rights to make phone calls to his family and lawyer.

At the conclusion of their appeals, four other followers, Majid Alasti, Mehrdad Souri, Mohammad-Reza Sadeghi and Massoud Samavatiyan, had their prison sentences upheld by the SCC on 3 September 2008. Majid Alasti was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment to be served in exile in Zanjan prison, 330 km northwest of Tehran. Mehrdad Souri and Mohammad-Reza Sadeghi were sentenced to two years’ imprisonment and are now held in Evin Prison. Massoud Samavatiyan was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment to be served in exile in Khoramabad, Lorestan province, western Iran.

Goals of this Action File  Obtain the immediate and unconditional release of Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi, a prisoner of conscience imprisoned solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression of his political views.

 Express international concern about reports that Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi has been ill-treated in custody, and obtain an independent and impartial investigation into these allegations.

 Ensure that Ayatollah Sayed Hossein Kazemeyni Boroujerdi is treated humanely in detention, that he is not subjected to further torture and ill-treatment, and that he be given any necessary medical care.

Amnesty's page on Iran: Click Here

Friday, July 29, 2011

Welcome New Member: Mahali khotle

Martha & Mahali

Thanks to Martha & Irwin for organizing the Information table on 7/23 at the Farmers Market (good location, Martha!).
I would like to officially welcome our newest member Ms. Mahali Khotle who agreed to join the IT team (Cylvanna and Ismail) to become the Administrator of our Facebbok page.... Mahali is originally from Lesotho.

Our August meeting will be on 8/6 following the table @1 pm at Jones Library (43 Amity Street)... I sent invitation to all our list members via facebook... pls RSVP by 8/4 in order to determine the room size of the meeting.

Our agenda will be a follow-up on previous meeting and in addition to start planning the Dec 10th event of the Human Rights Day; and to brinstorm ideas on the Iran Case assigned to our group.

mohamed elgadi,

Group Coordinator

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sami Adam & Child Soldiers in Chad

Sami, 7 years old, is an African-American child who lives with his family in Saudi Arabia and is visiting Amherst this Summer. last Sat, he joined his friend Cylvanna, our youngest Amnesty member in Amherst, to organize the bi-weekly information table in downtown Amherst at the Farmers Market.

He atentatively listened to Cylavanna updating him on each petition at the table and it seemed that a particular one captured his attention more. This was the one asking President Obama to revoke a waiver to Chad that let the country continues to recruit underage combatants in the refugees camps in Eastern Chad (read more here). Sami managed to convince 7 visitors to Amnesty Table to sign this petition. "I will ask more people to sign the petition so we can send it to President Obama before I go back to Saudi Arabia" he told me at the end of the day.

Thank you all again for keeping this Tabling activity rolling...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy 4th of July...

The Dynamic Team of 7/2/11 Table

Our Amnesty Table this week was especially interesting...Thanks to coordinating team led by Ismail Farah, Bassil, Aysar, and Cylvanna...

The young team added more fun to the Amherst Farmers Market when they walked around and gave away the popular Amnesty pin "Rights for All" while asking people to stop by the table to sign petitions.

Ayssar, middle, showing off his anti-torture sticker

It was a fun and brillinat idea, most impotantly, it came from them. The young Ayssar posted the AI anti-torture sticker on his front shirt while he runs around the Commons in downtown Amherst. "it was fun. Can we come again next week Dad?" Bassil asked his father while they were folding up the table at the end of the day. Many people stopped by to check our new materials and to inquire about the new 3 Petitions (India, Chad, and Erirea). The Team managed to fill one page of each petition in addition to collect $6 of donations.

Special thanks to Ismail Farah, a refugee artist from Sudan, who took the day-off his work to organize the table.

Our next table will be on 7/16 and will be organized by by 2 local members and another 2 International members who will be visiting that week.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The U.N. International Day for Torture Survivors

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Press Advisory: Amnesty International- Amherst Chapter
Contact: mohamed elgadi

"They came to get me at night when the power was off in the area, and made sure not to be identified by my family. I was taken to the infamous security offices in north Nyala, which is known as one of the worst Ghost Houses in Darfur. The torture was severe and took many different ways such as beating, flogging, stress positions, electric shocks, etc. However, the worst method was when they ordered me to walk barefoot on broken glass and when I resisted I was electrified and fell on it. I still carry the scars from that horrific experience."

This is a quote from Ibrahim Abbaker, age 29, an Electric Engineer from Nyala, Darfur (Sudan) who was just released a month ago after being arrested many times and tortured due to his peaceful opposition to the regime of Sudan’s President al-Bashir. In this quote, he is referring to his last arrest in May, 2011 when he participated in a protest rally during the visit of the Sudanese Vice President to Darfur.

In Sudan, the regime of President al-Bashir continues to be ruthless in using torture against opposition forces. This has been Sudan’s formal policy especially since the President was indicted and was issued an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court.

Another example of maltreatment of prisoners is found in Chile where imprisoned native Mapuche activists have just ended an 86-day hunger strike. “They are protesting their unfair trial and harsh sentences under The Terrorism Act. They are not terrorists. They demand the return of the Mapuche’s ancestral land,” said Ester Orellana, of Amherst and a Native Mapuche from Chile.

Amnesty International’s Amherst Group 128 observes the United Nations’ International Day for Torture Survivors this June 26th with cautious optimism. We have an administration in the White House that has voiced its commitment to stopping torture and took practical steps to shut down the infamous Guantánamo Bay prison.

Still, the killing of Osama bin Laden has brought the torture debate back to our shores. Congressman Peter King, Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee told Fox News that “the success of the hunt for bin Laden was due to waterboarding.”

Information extracted under torture has been found to be false since a tortured person will say anything to stop the pain. Sen. Dianne Feinstein asserted that bin Laden's location was pieced together after years of intelligence-gathering rather than by torture. If these immoral acts are not declared illegal, but rather allowed to continue through our silence, then we must live with the reality that we are all guilty of torture.

Each one of us must speak up and demand that our government set an example by denouncing and ending our usage of torture, right now and in the future. Continue this discussion with Amnesty International Group 128 every other Saturday in the summer by the Amherst Farmer's Market in the Town Common.

Summer Planning Meeting

After the specially interesting and interactive table @ the Farmers Market on 6/17 (thanks to Tamador, a theater artist), the group moved to Jones Library and had our first Summer meeting. A good action plan was developed after reflecting on last year's plan.

here is a brief summary of the outcomes:
* Review of last year's plan: We briefly went over some of the activities we organized or co-sponsored. These are: 13 Information Tables at the Farmers Market; Holding 3 meetings; Increasing memberships; working and reaching out to students groups; Organizing the Human Rights day (along with Amherst Town Human Rights Commission); organizing/participating in events @ Smith College, Springfield College, and UMASS. Co-sponsoring the MLK Breakfast; and Thomas Paine events. In addition, the Fundraiser Tag Sale was exceptionally successful last year due to attracting legislators and media coverage. A major challenge was how to get the membership more involved and motivated to participate in activities and events.
* Discussion on 2011-2012 Work Plan: We spent sometime to address this new work plan and benefit of our previous experiences. The following offices were suggested and created with one or more in each:
1. Membership Office: Tamador & Gloria................... mainly to organize our membership list and help in contacting inactive members and motivate them more, etc.
2.Media office: Fanny and is looking for more to help her: This office will be responsible of communication with media, and issuing our 2-3 Press releases (HR day, Refugee/Torture Survivors day, International Women's Day).
3. Regional office Liaison: Ester will be helping us in this area especially because of her frequent visits to Boston in her other volunteer work with the Union.
4. Blog/Website office: Ismail & Cylvanna volunteered to help enhance and maintain our Blog
* Petitions and POC: We discussed the progress we made in this area especially in helping to release the adopted POC cases: Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma); and Karim Amer (Egypt). Two new petitions were sent to us from the regional office (India and Chad); and 2 POC cases will be assigned to us.
* Amherst TV Show: We disscussed the request of Mr. Isaac Ben-Ezra to host a 30-min TV show with the group in regard to our success on the 2 POC cases. Fanny, Ester and Mohamed will be working on this piece.
* Budget: We spent like $45 on sponsoring event and printing a brochur for Springfield College event (a full report will be presented in our next meeting)
* Other: The North East Regional Office Coordinator, Cynthia Gabriel, is planning to visit with our Chapter sometimes in Mid July. plan to use her visit to activate our membership.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Young Heroes Awards for Human Rights

Ten Young Heroes .....

May 21, 2011
Reynolds Winslow wrote:

and Two Seasoned Ones....

P.S. Congratulations to Ismail, Jr., our young member for being one of the recipients of this prestigious award of the Amherst Town's Human Rights Commission

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our Spring 2011 activities started

In a temprature in the mid 40s and due to wind effect made it felt as if in single digits; we had our first Information Table on 4/16.

Thanks are due to Ismail and Cylvana, our youngest members, for working in this cold windy weather... They have done a great job in convincing passers-by to stop and sign petition.

They also collected over $7 in the donation can for stamps and photocopying...

We are planning to continue this tradition event of Amnesty International thru the spring/summer/fall....

On 4/30, the temprature was still on the cold side (and windy, too!). The Information table was coordinated by Fanny and Jessica. A reporter/photographer from Western New England College visited our table to take some photos for Jessica to document her internship work with our group and WMDC (this was her last public event to organize... Thank you, Jessica).

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring events begin today...!

Karim Amer, Egypt FREED

Thanks to Ismail & Cylvanna for coming out in this cold day to begin our Spring/Summer/Fall tradition: The Human Rights Table.. Stop by the table and give these young activists a needed warm support in Downtown Amherst.... ...... Thanks also extended to Tamador, Yusra, Ismail, Ibrahim, Cylvana, Martha & Irwin, Ismail Farah, Nigel, Ester, who signed up to organize one of our Human Rights Information Table @ the Farmers market this Summer... Let's continue the human rights festival...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Speaking at Human Rights Events

The Sudan's human rights week concluded yesterday by a presentation @ Springfield Collge's annual AADERT conference on Africa. The well-prepared PPP (thanks to Jamie Sullivan) highlighted the role of solidarity in supporting the student human rights Girifna movement in Sudan and how W. Mass Darfur Coalition , Smith STAND , and AI-128advocated on their behalf in Western Massachusetts. Special thanks to Fanny Rothschild and Jessica DiPietro for organizing and hanging the Darfur Exhibit at the School of Human Services. We heard a lot of good feedback and comments on the children's drawings yesterday at the AADERT conference. The presentation took place at the new Students Campus by the Springfield College lake.

Upcoming panel on Sudan: The STAND chapter @ UMASS is organizing a panel on the future of South Sudan next week and our coordinator, mohamed elgadi, will be speaking on the human rights challenges that are facing the new country. Location, Date & Time: It will be @ 7pm on Thursday, April 14, 2011, in the Campus Center Room 911.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Human Rights in Sudan@ Springfield College

Our Amnesty capter in amherst is joining Western Massachusetts Darfur Coalition, and Smith Stand org in a series of activities in support to the human rights in Sudan, a major focus for the three groups. On Sat 4/2 a reception will be held for the opening of the Darfur Children Exhibit @ the School of Human Services in Springfield College. Our sister org, Darfur Alert Coalition, who brought the Children's drawings to the world introduced it on their website "These heart-rending drawings were created by children in the Kalma camp in South Darfur -- the very camp attacked by government forces this week. The drawings were done in 2004, the result of an impromptu gesture by Dr. Jerry Ehrlich, a New Jersey pediatrician who went to Darfur that year with Doctors Without Borders. While there, Dr. Jerry gave children paper and crayons and encouraged them to draw. Pictures quickly flooded back to him. Some showed flowers, sunshine and tranquil village life. Others, though, graphically portray the horrors these innocents survived. Scenes of bloodshed, bombings, and lives ripped asunder stare back at us with the directness and honesty of the child's eye." On Sat 4/9 the rally for Sudan will continue by a presentation at the annual conference of Africa, African-American, Development, Education, Research and Training Institute ( AADERTI ). The paper, which is mainly put together by Jamie Sullivan, STAND coordinator at Smith college is titled: Building Global Solidarity: U.S. Activists STAND with Sudanese Girifna Students

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our Chapter Addresses Solidarity Rally with Egypt/Sudan

Over 400 activists showed their support to the Egyptian Intifada and other countries of Middle East and Sudan..

For more that 2 hrs the rally continued from UMASS to Amherst College in a bad freezing rain, sleet and ice...

Our local Chapter of Amnesty International was among another 10 groups and orgs who sponsored and planned the rally. We got a chance to have our voice heard to the media and announced the good news that our adopted Egyptian Priosoner of Conscience, Karim Amer, was released and actually is blogging now again from Tahrir Square in Cairo.

See this video on MassLive that reflects part of our Chapter Coordinator's speech, Mohamed Elgadi "I believe a strong movement like this — civil disobedience, like what's happening in the streets of Cairo, and Sudan, and Yemen and Tunisia — is going to be victorious," Dr. Mohamed Elgadi, the coordinator for Amnesty International Amherst, told the crowd."
One of the favorite slogans chanted today at the rally was this one "From the Nile to the sea, Egypt, Egypt will be free"

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Our Chapter Sponsors Thomas Paine Day

Martha and Irwin Spiegelman, our active members were among the core group planned this event.
Here is the flyer of Thomas Paine Day
[[Robert Meeropol is the principal speaker on Saturday afternoon, January 29, as part of the annual Thomas Paine birthday observance at Jones Library, Amherst. His topic is "WikiLeaks, the Espionage Act of 1917, and the Trial of the Rosenbergs ." Meeropol, founder and executive director of the Rosenberg Fund for Children, is an attorney and a political and social activist. The younger of the two sons of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, he was six years old in 1953 when they were executed. He is author of a memoir, An Execution in the Family, One Son's Journey. The Thomas Paine event, on the anniversary of his birth in 1737, is the 17th annual Paine Day held in Amherst . It is organized by the local branch of Thomas Paine Friends, Inc., a non-profit organization that promotes recognition of the great author-patriot-humanitarian, whose enduring pamphlet, Common Sense, called for independence and democratic government. The program starts at 1 pm with the first hour remembering Thomas Paine as probably the first whistle-blower in America for his role in the Silas Deane Affair, in 1779.

At 2 pm , Bill Newman, advocate with ACLU of Massachusetts and radio host, will introduce Robert Meeropol, and following the talk there will be open discussion. Musical selections by Sarah McKee and Tom Neilson, plus birthday cake, will round off the afternoon. Besides Thomas Paine Friends, co-sponsors are American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Amherst Democratic Town Committee, Amnesty International-Group 128 and the local chapters of Women In Black and the Green-Rainbow Party. Admission is free and all are welcome. ]]
The event was well attended (standing only) and our Chapter had information table on the side...

thanks to our young member Ismail for helping to set up the table...

From 2010 Blog

These are some glimpses of our events and activities in 2010, for more detailed info refer to our old Blog:

Thanks to all who made the Fundraiser Tag Sale a successful event that netted us over $500 in 5 hours! This is a good net revenue especially in this difficult economic time... Again like in last year's Tag Sale, books sold very good (thanks for the good titles our dear member Nigel and others picked @ the Amherst Book Recycling Ctr). The low price strategy attracted more students, major customers at any Tag sale in the begining of the school year.... Petitions/information table was another success and donation put in the Stamps jar was over $3... We forgot this year to have Greeting Cards available on the table to write and mail to our POC, Karim Amer (sorry Karim, we hope to send you one when you are free, soon Inshalla!). Thanks to our elected State legislators, Rep Ellen Story and Senator Stan Rosenberg for continuing to show their commitment to human rights and support to Amnesty International. Both legislators gave powerful speech and saluted Amnesty International on its 50th Anniversary, and the 32 anniversary of the local chapter

Amnesty Chant by Yosra & Kassandra Holyoke High School, MA Sign-up @ the Amnesty desk (clap, clap, clap, clap, clap) And if you do we will handle the rest (clap x5) Free some prisoners because it's right (clap x5) And if you do it will make their lives (clap x5)

Ester, Ismail, and Cylvanna during one of the Group-128 activities in downtown Amherst. In the last meeting of the Chapter, the Chilean-American member Ester Orellana, updated the group on the hunger strike of the Mapuche political prisoners in Chile. "Since the 12th July 31 Mapuche political prisoners have been on hunger strike in the Chilean prisons of Concepcion, Temuco, Valdivia, Angol and Lebu. The political prisoners are demanding the right to a fair legal process, the application of an objective and impartial system of justice and, in particular, the abolition of the anti-terrorist law." For more information on this urgent case see this link

Our Summer Events.. After our longer-than-usual 'hypernation' we woke up and quickly took back our usual spot in downtown Amherst @ the Farmers market and our famous banner took its usual place in the Center of Amherst. Clipboards and petitions travelled around the market's customers and the 'word of human rights floated around' as we say... We will be having 2 events each month until Dec 10... we had 2 successful tabling events in June and one. so far, in July... Come a join our campaign on behalf of many human rights defenders... come and sign petition to free the courageous Burmese Aung San Suu Kyi , and the Ethiopian opposition leader Birtukan Mideksa.

Birtukan and Aung were both released at the end of last year 2010

New URL for our Chapter

Due to difficulty to access the account of the previous weblog of this Chapter a new URL was created ...www. is our new URL address
Pls take note and share this within network of activists

I have strong suspicion that this development has to do with the Sudanese regime's recent crackdown on human rights activists especially those reporting violations of the regime.

mohamed elgadi