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       ‘A Powerhouse of Prayer’

acat – opposing torture – promoting compassion

                    June/July 2007

                    In this edition

 Report on Lungern Seminar
 Replies to appeals
 News on Subscriptions
 Result of Christmas Appeal
 Free at Last – Alan John Davies
 SOS Torture and Prisoner Support Schemes
 Death Penalty
Dear friends,

            After Jesus’ ascension back into heaven, something very special
            happened in the lives of his disciples that we refer to as
            ‘Pentecost’ of ‘Whitsun’.

            For me three things stand out in the Pentecost story.

            Firstly, the disciples were told to wait where they were. They
            weren’t told how long they would have to wait for, nor what
            would happen or when; except that there was a bit of a clue in
            Jesus’ words that they would receive ‘power from on high’ -
            whatever that meant.

      Patience was the key.

Secondly, they had to be obedient. Had they decided the waiting was too
long and they were going off somewhere else to tell the Jesus story, they
wouldn’t have been where they were needed to be when the Holy Spirit
came down.

      Obedience was the key.

Thirdly, they had no idea what impact would be made on the world - not
just where they were - as a result of their patience and obedience. And I
bet if you had been able to interrogate the disciples in the period between
Ascension and Pentecost, about what they thought might happen through
their witnessing for Jesus, they might have had difficulty in believing what
they were told.

      Power was the key.

We live still in the days of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit, who hovered over the
surface of the waters at the beginning of creation, who spoke through the
Prophets, who landed on Jesus in the form of a dove at his baptism, who
operated in and through his teaching, preaching and miracles, who brought
new life from the tomb, who empowered the disciples... is the same Holy
Spirit at work in the world today, through the Church, the body of Christ.

Our work as members of ACAT reminds us that there are still those who
wait. There are those who wait where they are, because they have no
option, waiting for release from darkness, oppression, pain, solitude;
waiting now knowing how long the wait will be.
And we who walk in the light of Christ also have the power to walk in the
freedom to help them, to be their voice, their hope, their link to a new way
of living.

May the Holy Spirit keep us faithful, patient and obedient to the command
of Christ. Let us reach out in love and above all (literally speaking - John
3:7!) in power, that the love of Christ may be known to all people in this
world whilst we wait to greet him in the next.

With best wishes to you all,       Tom Bayliss

           Report on the FIACAT Seminar in Lungern, Switzerland

                          29th April to 4th May 2007

The glorious scenery of snow-capped mountains, shimmering lakes and green
green meadows was in marked contrast to the unloveliness of the subject at
the recent FIACAT Seminar.

The subject was ‘The ban on torture--- a principle under threat’ and the
seminar was attended by 76 members from 27 ACAT’S worldwide.

Before we went people were saying ‘ Have a good holiday in Switzerland’. It
was, however, not a holiday. Instead, it was hard but enjoyable work (from
9.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. 3 days, with preparation for meetings of the FIACAT
Council on the other two days.

The first day dealt with the question ‘Why is the ban on torture under
threat?’ The speakers (and an excellent mime artist) considered the reasons
under the headings ‘fear’, ‘need for security’ and the so-called ‘war against

Rachela Erel, a lawyer from Israel, spoke movingly of the fear of terrorism
being very real in her country, surrounded as it is by nations that wish to
obliterate it altogether. The daily threat of death and injury by suicide
bombers brings into sharp focus the question of whether suspects should be
tortured. She was, however, of the firm opinion that the security aspect was
no longer justification for breaching human rights.

She gave us the surprising thought (from a Jew) that as Jesus was tortured
to death, torture today amounts to torturing God. So how could Christians
NOT take action?

Sam Mohochi, a lawyer from Kenya, said torture is now discussed and even
legitimised there. Police have arrested hundreds of suspects, almost all
Islamists, raided homes, held many detainees incommunicado and then
totally denied any arrests. Suspects are, rightly, considered dangerous but
the police treat them less than humanely

Alberto Bondolfi, a professor of ethics at Lausanne University, said that
torture can never be justified, but if it does happen then it should be taken
into account in mitigation circumstances in any trial of the perpetrator.
‘Torture is always immoral’ he said ’ and we should not accept any watering
down of the universal ban.’

Two philosophers, Ka Mana from the Democratic Republic of Congo and
Hubert Hausener from Luxembourg, stressed that the West had made and
continued to make mistakes, and that, having identified the causes of
terrorism we must deal with them.

 Day two concerned the euphemisms that surround torture, other names
used for it and to conceal it.

Wolfgang Heinz, head of the Institute for the study of Human Rights in Berlin
gave four tests for torture; it must cause severe pain and suffering, be
intentional, committed by a public official and be more than a lawful

Ten years ago torture was not even being discussed. It was totally illegal and
that was that. Today, it is the subject of genuine debate in books, learned
articles, on radio, and by governments. The thought in America was that
some detainees were so bad they should not be treated normally. The state
had a duty to protect its citizens and ‘Salvation Torture’ was a new phrase
used in this context. Torture is only torture, under an American definition, if
it leads to virtual collapse of internal organs, and possibly death. The US
was not bound by the EU Convention on Torture and therefore officials were
not prosecuted.

He emphasised that the job of all ACAT’s is to continue to fight against
torture: the tolerance level in many countries, he said, has lowered


Dr. Paz Rojas, a Chilean neuro-surgeon, spoke most movingly of what it was
like to help sufferers from torture during the Pinochet regime. The
Constitution of the country had been abolished, the press gagged and state
terrorism was promoted. ‘All human parameters had been violated by the
cruelty of the State’ she said.

By listening to the stories of torture victims she and her research team tried
to penetrate the realms of the torturer: the methods used, the training of
torturers, their social psychology and how ordinary Chilean soldiers could be
changed into torturers almost overnight. As a result of what happened
‘‘there is now a real loss of the deep values in Chile’’ she said. ‘‘We are
trying to find complete truth and justice’’.

                        ‘ THE TICKING BOMB’

Day three concerned combating the threat to the ban on torture.

Eric Prokosch, former research co-ordinator of Amnesty International, spoke
of ways in which the ‘ticking bomb’ argument in favour of torture could and
should be dealt with. ‘’ We must all speak out against it’’ he said. ‘’It is a
false argument. The real ‘ticking bomb’ is our inability to get to grips with
poverty and problems of rich and poor in the world’’

The other problem he posed was how can the state protect its citizens (as it
must) at the same time as obeying human rights?

In a later discussion Thomas Greminger, Ambassador from the Human
Security division of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Edouard Delaplace,
of the Association for the Prevention of Torture, and Rachela Erel, from

Israel, dealt with the vital Optional Protocol, which gives an unconditional
right to visit all detainees to assess if the are being fairly treated. Although
governments agree this is essential in the fight against torture, the Protocol
is, sadly, under funded.

There were other lectures and round-table discussions on the theological
and philosophical bases of and objections to torture, and workshops when
members of the 27 ACAT’s present spoke of their knowledge of torture in
their own countries.

                           INSPIRING ADDRESS

Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual, President of FIACAT gave an inspiring final
address. ‘’As Christians. we are called to go beyond the legal threshold ’’she
said. ‘’Fight against the impunity of the torturers from all angles. Our
number one priority is to mobilize our churches in the fight against the evils
of torture. Do not be timid.’’

Altogether, the days were full, most informative, tiring but enjoyable. We
met many members of ACAT’s as far afield as Brazil, (where there are many
problems: 600 people killed in 2006, 150,000 in prison in Sao Paulo
alone),Burkina Faso, Canada, and the Philippines.

There are many details, which are not included here because of space.
It was indeed a pleasure to be your representatives and the ACAT (UK)
delegates at this important Seminar.

Richard Dent and Margaret Russell.

                                                          Friends from ACAT Ghana
A farewell photo

                       View from Margaret’s room

                      APPEALS FOR JUNE/JULY 2007


Gulbahor Turayeva is a forensic expert, a member of Anima-kor, a non-
governmental organisation working to protect the rights of doctors and their
patients. She is also a human rights activist from Andijan.

She was arrested in January 2006 at a border post, following a search of her
luggage. Several books, including material on human rights and books by
leaders of the Uzbek opposition. She was arrested because she had
possession of banned books. Her apartment was searched but nothing was
found. She was then detained at a National Security Service's detention
centre and brought to trial in April 2007 at the Andijan Regional Court,
accused of "attempting to overthrow the constitutional system", "slander"
and "producing and spreading materials threatening public order". She was
sentenced to 6 years in prison on April 24. There are fears that she may be
subjected to torture or ill treatment.


The President of Uzbekistan, Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov, ul.
Uzbekistaniskaya 43, Rezidentsia prezidenta, 700163 Tashkent, Republic of
Uzbekistan (Dear President Karimov)

General Prosecutor of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Rashidjon Hamidovich
Kodirov, ul. Gulyamova 66. 700047 Tashkent, Republic of Uzbekistan (Dear

Copies can be sent to: -
The Ambassador, The Embassy of the Republic of Uzbekistan, 41 Holland
Park, London W11 2RP
(Your Excellency)


I wish to express my great concern over the 6-year prison sentence handed
down to GULBAHOR TURAYEVA, a forensic expert, a member of Anima-koro,
and a human rights activist, on April 24, 2007 by the Andijan Regional Court.
I understand that she was arrested on January 14 2006 at the Dustlik border
checkpoint and held since that date until her trial. She was found guilty of
"attempting to overthrow the constitutional system, slander and producing
and spreading materials threatening public order".

May I respectfully call for the immediate and unconditional release of
Gulbahor Turayeva on the grounds that she is a human rights defender, and
as such has the right guaranteed under the United Nations Declaration on
Human Rights Defenders, 1998, Article 1 to carry out her work, promoting
human rights and fundamental freedoms at a national level.            The

Government, under Article 12.2. Has the duty to ensure the protection of
human rights defenders from violence, threats, retaliation etc; this would
include Gulbahor Turayeva.

There is concern that while in prison, she may be subjected to torture or ill
treatment. May I urge the prison authorities to ensure that she is held
under conditions which conform to the United Nations Standard Minimum
Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, including access to her family, her
lawyer, medical treatment, and conditions which forbid any form of physical
or mental torture or ill-treatment.

I also call for an end to all acts of harassment, and intimidation, against
other human rights defenders.

Yours faithfully   or Yours respectfully


The UWFO was formed in October 2006 to protect and promote workers'
rights, ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic co-operation (APEC) summit held
in Ha Noi in November. UWFO advocates the right to form and participate in
trade and labour unions, independent of government interference. They
call for justice for people whose land and property have been unlawfully
confiscated by government officials and an end to the exploitation of cheap
labour and dangerous working conditions.

TRAN QUOC HIEN was arrested in January in Ho Chi Minh City, after he
announced he had been selected as spokesperson of the UWFO. He is in
prison in Ho Chi Minh City. Before his arrest he had signed in support for
Bloc 8406, a movement calling for democracy and human rights, launched in
2006 with an internet-based petition.

CHUONG and his father, DOAN VAN DIEN were arrested just before the
summit began.

At present they remain in incommunicado detention. It is not known if they
have been charged with any offence. Independent trade unions are banned
in Vietnam.


Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Office of the Prime Minister, Hoang Hoa
Tham, Ha Noi, Vietnam
Email: (via Foreign Ministry) (Dear Prime Minister)

Copies can be sent to:-
The Ambassador, The Embassy of Vietnam, 12/14 Victoria roads, London W8
5RD (Your Excellency)

I wish to express my great concern over reports of the arrest of the
following members of the United Workers-Farmers Organisation (UWFO):-

TRAN QUOC HIEN, spokesperson, arrested in January, detained in prison in
CHUONG, his father, DOAN VAN DIEN, were arrested just before the start of
the APEC summit in November 2006

I respectfully call for the immediate and unconditional release of these five
members of UWFO, arrested solely for exercising their legitimate right to
peacefully participate in trade union activities.

May I urge that, while in detention, they are granted immediate access to
their families, their lawyers and to adequate medical care, as laid down
under the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners. May I ask the authorities to ensure that they have not been
subjected to any form of ill treatment or torture

Yours faithfully   or Yours respectfully


Ms Vergara Correa aged 33, mother of 4 children, was the President of the
Board of Communal Action, district of el Pesebre and the candidate to the
Local Administrative Board of the 13th commune in Medellin, Antioquia, for
the Polo Democratico Alternativo party. Ms Vergara Correa worked at the
Corporation for Peace and Social Development(CORPRADES) and was a
member of the Antioquia section of the National Network of Initiatives in
favour of Peace and Against War. She was also a member of the Antioquia
section of the Permanent Assembly of the Civil Association for Peace and she
took part in activities organised by the Madres de la Candelarial. She was
shot by an unknown gunman on 23 April while commuting to work on bus in
the San German district of Medellin. It is feared that the assassination may
have been the work of paramilitary groups operating in the west end of
Medellin, including Pesebre and San German districts. Fernando Quijano,
President of CORPRADES, has recently received death threats. On 23
August 2006 HAIDER RAMIREZ, one of the most charismatic representatives
of the 13th Commune was killed by two unknown gunmen.


Dr. Edgardo Jose Maya Villazon, Procurador General de la Nacion, Cra. 5. 15-
80, Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia       E-mail:
(Dear Procurador General)

H.E. Alvaro Uribe Velez, President of the Republic cr. 8     7-26, Palacio de
Narino, Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia (Dear President)

Copies can be sent to:-
The Ambassador, The Embassy of Colombia, Flat 3A. 3 Hans Crescent,
London SW1X 0LR


I wish to express my very great concern over reports of the assassination in
the San German district of Medellin, Antioquia on 23 April of JUDITH
ADRIANA VERGARA CORREA, aged 33, mother of 4 young children. I
understand that she was President of the Junta de Accion Comunal in el
Pesebre, PDA candidate for the Junta Administradora Local de la Comuna
13. She worked for CORPRADES and was a member of REDEPAZ and Asapaz
and participated in activities organised by Madres de la Candelaria. What
impresses me about her was that she was a valuable member of the
community in Medellin and should have had many years ahead of her in
which to contribute to building peace in this area of Colombia. Her
assassination is a tragedy, both for her family and her community.

I understand that the President of CORPRADES, FERNANDO QUIJANO has
recently been the subject of serious threats against his person and that in
August last year HALDER RAMIREZ, a charismatic representative for the 13th
commune was assassinated by 2 unknown gunmen.

I respectfully call for all necessary action to be taken by the authorities to
ensure the safety of the families of Judith Adriana Vergara Correa, Fernando
Quijano and Halder Ramirez and all other members of COPRADES, Redepaz,
Asapaz Antioquia, Madres de la Candelaria and their families.

I appeal for the setting up of a full, independent inquiry into the
assassinations of Ms Vergara Correa and Halder Ramirez, the publication in
full of its report and the prosecution of those found responsible. I call upon
the authorities to conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human
Rights Defenders, particularly Article 1,which states that everyone has the
right individually and in association with others to promote human rights
and fundamental freedoms and Article 12A which states that the state must
take all necessary measures to protect defenders against violence, threats,

Yours faithfully   or Yours respectfully


On 13 March Gilbert Marembo and Michael Kandukutu, officers of the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) were assaulted by members of
the Republic Police during a search of ZCTU offices. Members of ZCTU have
been systematically harassed by the authorities for several years - some
arrested and detained, some tortured and ill treated in custody.

Lovemore Matombo, Wellington Chilebe and Lucia Matibenga, leaders of the
ZCTU were 3 members arrested in September 2006 while peacefully
protesting. They were taken to Matapi Police Station where they were
beaten and tortured. Doctors confirmed that their injuries were consistent
with beatings with blunt objects, heavy enough to fracture hands and arms.
8 of the group were beaten on the soles of their feet - leaving them unable
to walk normally.


Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Police
Headquarters, PO Box 8807, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe (Dear Police
Copies can be sent to: -
The High Commissioner, The High Commission of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
House, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0SA (Your Excellency)


I wish to express my great concern over reports of the assault by members
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police on March 13 on GILBERT MAREMBO and
MICHALE KANDUKUTI, officers of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.

I understand that members of ZCTU have been systematically harassed,
arrested beaten and tortured for a number of years even when engaged in
legitimate peaceful protest. I bring to your attention the details concerning
MATIBENGA, arrested in September 2006, taken to Matapi Police station
where they and 5 other detainees were beaten and tortured using the
"falanga" method.

I call upon the authorities to order a full and impartial investigation into
these serious incidents, to publish its findings in full and to prosecute those
who took part. I urge those in command of the police to issue instructions
that torture and beatings will not be tolerated by officers in their charge.

I appeal for an end to the arbitrary detention and intimidation of trade
unionists, exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and

May I respectfully point out that torture is banned under any circumstance
under international law. Although Zimbabwe has not signed the United

Nations Convention Against Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman Treatment or
Punishment this does not mean it is exempt from legal sanctions.

Yours faithfully or Yours respectfully


Police without a warrant arrested Bektemir Akunov, a member of the
movement “Incorporated Front For the Worthy Future of Kyrgyzstan” in
Naryn on 13 April. He had called for heads of local authorities to become
members of opposition parties. He had gone on hunger strike between 5
and 10 April together with over 50 others calling for constitutional reform.

He was detained in the Naryn Department of Internal Affairs and was found
hanging on 14 April. His family dispute the suicide explanation. The post
mortem examination found evidence of asphyxia but also wounds on his
body. A former Minister of Health Protection and a Member of Parliament
both of whom demanded they assist in the post mortem examination,
declared on 17 April that Bektemir Akunov's body showed signs of brutal


Bakiev Kurmanbek Salievich, President of Kyrgyz Republic, Kyrgyzskaya
Respublika, 720003, Bishkek, Prospekt Chuy 205, KYRGYZSTAN
(Dear President)

Copies can be sent to: - Kygyzstan Permanent Mission to the United Nations,
Rue Maunoir 26, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland.



It was with very great concern that I learned of the arrest on 13 April of
BEKTEMIR AKUNOV, a member of "Incorporated Front for the Worthy Future
of Krygyzstan", who had gone on hunger strike between 5 and 10 April with
others calling for constitutional reform; he was found hanging in his cell on
14 April. I understand that the post mortem showed signs of brutal beatings

I call upon the authorities to order a full, impartial investigation into the
beatings and the circumstances of Bektemir Akunov's death, the publication
in full of its findings and the prosecution of those found responsible for his

I ask that adequate compensation be paid to his family. I call upon the
authorities in your country to ensure that prisoners held in conditions, which
meet the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners and are not subjected to any form of ill treatment or torture.

Yours faithfully or Yours respectfully


Members have received a number of replies to appeals in recent weeks.

The Ambassador of the Libyan Permanent Mission to the United Nations in
Geneva has sent lengthy replies to a number of members concerning the
sentence of death passed on a number of Bulgarian nurses, convicted of
allegedly deliberately infecting children with HIV, refuting allegations of
torture, ill-treatment, lack of fair trials etc. This is the first time that
replies have been received from Libyan officials, even though they are
denying everything!

Tendayi Gonesco, Zimbabwe, (UK)- some members who wrote to their MP
were informed either that they could not deal with this matter as the
asylum seeker was not a constituent or that they were prepared to take up
the case if given more information. Others who wrote directly to the Home
Office received replies.

At least one member has received a reply from the High Commission of
Bangladesh concerning Khabirul Islam Dulal, who died following beatings,
"drowning" in February; the High Commissioner's Office had asked the
appropriate government department to investigate.

Any queries or replies please contact
Eleanor Newland 8 Southfield, Saltash, Cornwall PL12 4PL
Tel: 01752 843417; Email:


You may recall that I wrote a brief article in the first mailing of 2007
advising that it was necessary to increase membership subscription rates.

To remind you       Groups -------------------------  £50
                Individual members               full £10
                                  Unwaged/ retired £10

             Life Membership ------------------------- £250

Please would those who pay by Standing Order ensure that these are
amended by their Bank.

Or, if you contact me I will send a new Mandate. These can also be
downloaded from the membership section of our Website

                                FREE AT LAST!

As a number of our members will already know, Alan John Davies has finally
been released from prison in Thailand after 17 years. He flew to the U.K.
on the 11th May. There were very real worries following his move from the
prison to the detention centre, where, incidentally, conditions were worse
than in prison. There were hold-ups over the booking of his flight and the
airline he would be flying with; we began to get a little paranoid over
fictitious plots and conspiracies! There were many phone calls and e-mails
between those involved. Members and other concerned Christians were
asked to pray for his safe arrival. Everyone heaved a great sigh of relief
when he finally touched down.

Since then (May 15th), an article about him and his imprisonment appeared
in The Guardian and probably in other newspapers. A press conference was
arranged by Colin Breed, MP for S.E. Cornwall (John's son lives in Cornwall),
and the MP for Blackpool (his former home), in the Jubilee Room at the
House of Commons for May 16th. The chief executive and 3 other staff
members from Fair Trials Abroad were present, including Sabine Zanker,
whom some of you may know, together with ACAT members who had
befriended him and were within commuting distance of London, and others.
The press conference was reported on BBC South West the same day.

A number of our members have befriended John, some for a great number
of years - we know that they included Howard Fisher and the Kirby Muxloe
Group and Philip Letchford, who have both died within the past few months
and who were such great letter writers. How they would have rejoiced at
his release! We thank everyone on behalf of the Chairman, Committee and
members of ACAT for their constant support, letter writing and prayers. We
know how much they meant to John.

ACAT and all its members wish John well. It is hoped that he will be able to
write an article for us telling about his experiences and hopes for the

Donations can still be accepted for him - it will be very difficult to start a
new life with little but the clothes he stands up in. Cheques should now be
made out to Alan John Davies, and sent to Ken at 34 Wantage Road,
Reading RG30 23SF, for forwarding on

Eleanor Newland and Ken Watson.

 Could I remind members that, in view of Father Bohan's absence from
Zambia for several weeks during the summer, the next transfer of funds will
take place during the first 2 or 3 days of August, with the final transfer for
the year at the beginning of December. I should be glad to receive any
cheques made payable to 'ACAT No. 2 account' by the 3rd weeks of July and
November respectively.           Ken Watson

                          SOS TORTURE SCHEME

I think that one of the things, which attracted me to ACAT in the 80’s, was
its name. ACTION by Christians against Torture - in those days, ACT.

Not Thinking about, or talking about, or reading about or even
demonstrating against - but acting, or doing something.

The SOS scheme, between January and May did something. In response to
the appeals for intervention, 268 letters went to the authorities. That's a
noble effort on the part of 24 writers - over 10 each on average, or more
than two a month.

We still need more SOS writers.

It's interesting to note that not one of them has a London post code. How
about it, London members?

 Any ACAT member can write to me with contact details (including e mail if
you have it) and how many a month you can handle.

Please note, the most reliable route for appeals is the good old-fashioned
air letter. A lot of the e-mail addresses supplied don't work.

It's a good idea to remind ourselves that many torture victims owe their
plight to the so-called war on terror - witness the international scandal of
Guantanamo Bay.

Brother Anselm, SSF, 3 Pool Field Avenue, Birmingham, B31 1ER

                            CHRISTMAS APPEAL

I never cease to be amazed at the generosity of our members. In February I
was able to send to FIACAT the fantastic amount of £1500.

This amount far exceeded our expectations and on behalf of FIACAT I would
like to thank you all. Be sure the money will be put to good use by FIACAT

In addition to sending the Euro equivalent of £1500 to FIACAT we also sent
£500 to help finance an ACAT from Africa or South America to attend the
Seminar in Lungern, we also paid in full for the cost of our delegates to

With many thanks to you all for the generosity shown to FIACAT.

At the Council meeting in Lungern ACAT (UK) agreed to increase it’s
subscription to FIACAT by 25% this now means that we pay around 2 Euros
per member of ACAT (UK) not a large amount but much needed by FIACAT

Margaret Russell (Hon Treas.)


(In order to obtain charity status, campaigning against the death
penalty was removed from ACAT's Constitution. However, execution
is considered the ultimate in torture and cruel, inhumane and
degrading treatment. In addition ACAT is affiliated to the
International Federation Against Torture (FIACAT), which campaigns
against the death penalty. It was decided to set up a separate
organisation ACAT (Abolition of the Death Penalty) which carries
out campaigning. This is not a perfect answer but it is better than
nothing. Although we cannot campaign we can provide information,
where necessary and the ACAT Committee felt it important to provide
some data for members.)


According to Amnesty International 2,148 prisoners were executed in 2005
with 5,186 sentenced to death. It is known that the true figures will have
been much higher. Some countries do not publish accurate figures. In
China, for instance, the death penalty statistics are a state secret. In
India, Vietnam and Uzbekistan information is not published. Most
executions take place in a small number of countries - approximately 94%
in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, USA (figures for 2005) However since the re-
imposition of the death penalty in August 2004, the numbers executed
have resulted in Iraq rising to 4th in the league tables.

There has been a steady rise in the number of countries, which have
become abolitionist or abolitionist in effect. Mexico and Liberia abolished
the death penalty in 2004, bringing to 81, the number of countries, which
are now abolitionist for all crimes, and 122 abolitionist either in law or
practice - in 1977 there were only 17 abolitionist countries. In terms of
the time it takes for public opinion to be changed, national law revised or
consitutions altered, together with international pressure this is a
remarkable achievement for all campaigners.

There was progress too at the United Nations in 2005 when Resolution
2005/59 was passed which affirmed the right to life and declared that
"abolition was essential for the protection of this right". This resolution
was sponsored by 81 member states. The UN Special Rapporteur on
Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, also issued strong
statements against the use of mandatory death sentences, which remove
a court's right of freedom to exercise leniency, or take into account
extenuating or mitigating circumstances.


Death sentences are handed down in a number of countries for economic
crimes, such as tax offences, embezzlement, fraud, as well as drug
smuggling, kidnapping, murder etc and in a country such as Nigeria,
where sharia law operates in the north, for what are seen as sexually

related offences (zina). In Iran sentences are imposed for a variety of
vaguely worded offences such as "corruption on earth"! There are 29
crimes in Vietnam for which the death penalty can be demanded.

                        METHODS OF EXECUTION

Various methods are used by executioners. Some means of execution
include firing squad, hanging, lethal injection, beheading, stoning,
electrocution. China still carries out executions in public as does Saudi
Arabia, which uses beheading. In a number of Islamic countries stoning is
used to kill those found guilty of sexual offences, such as adultery. The
sharia courts in Nigeria for instance, have sentenced women to be stoned
to death for adultery and men for homosexual offences. Electrocution
and lethal injection are the favoured methods used in certain states USA
to execute death row prisoners.


People who belong to minority groups (racial, ethnic, religious etc) are
more likely, if charged with capital offences to be found guilty and
executed. It has been shown that black men and the poor in the United
States for instance, are more often found guilty than well connected
white people. The uneducated and usually poor people, and others
from marginalized groups have little or no access to adequate legal
counsel and therefore start at a great disadvantage. The "mentally
handicapped” can also suffer from prejudice and poor representation and
end up on death row. The legal system or custom in some countries such
as Pakistan allows families of victims to accept "blood money" in return
for the freedom of the offender. This is no option for poor families.
Members of ACAT (Abolition of the Death Penalty) campaigned on behalf
of Mirza Tahir Hussain, from the UK, sentenced to death in Pakistan for
the murder of a taxi driver; the family of the victim demanded that the
death sentence should be carried out and were not prepared to accept
"blood money". He was eventually freed following interventions from the
Prince of Wales, among others.


In many instances trials are unfair or totally unfair; in some there is no
recourse to an appeal system. Confessions made under torture are
accepted as evidence. There are many instances of innocent people
sentenced to death and executed. The authorities in China have begun to
accept that miscarriages of justice have occurred, following public
disquiet about a number of cases. A Supreme Court judge has announced
that 3 branch courts were to be established to review death penalty
sentences. Accused are sometimes not made aware of the court
proceedings. Political interference is not uncommon in certain cases.
Legal representation is not always accepted by the police or the courts;
lawyers are often not given sufficient preparation time or allowed to
meet their clients, or not given evidence that would help their case.
There is often no translation service for foreign nationals accused of

capital offences; this occurs in Saudi Arabia. In many instances in the
United States lawyers have been totally incompetent, at best, or
negligent. In some, those sentenced to death and their families are not
told they are being executed. Families of those executed in Tajikistan
and Uzbekistan are also not told where their loved ones are buried.
Executions can take place almost immediately after sentence, but
in Pakistan and the United States for example, prisoners are held for many
years and can then be executed perhaps 20 or 25 years after sentence.


A small number of countries still execute those accused of
capital offences carried out when they were minors. At least 8 were
executed in Iran during 2005. A number were also sentenced to death.
The Iranian Government told the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
that it had a moratorium on the use of the death penalty against juvenile
offenders but the very next day executed a young man, 17 at the time he
allegedly killed a soldier in a fight. Death sentences imposed on both
women and men under 18 at the time of their offence have been
suspended or lifted, following domestic and international pressure.
Sometimes pressure is effective. At least 22 young offenders remained
under sentence of death in Philippines, although the law states that child
offenders cannot be sentenced to death or executed. Sentences of death
have also been imposed on children, both girls and boys in Yemen.

There was good news from the United States concerning young offenders.
The US Supreme Court banned the execution of those under the age of 18
at the time of their offence, bringing it into line with international
standards. More than 70 child offenders under sentence of death had
their sentences commuted. 22 child offenders were executed in the
period from 1977 until the ban. At least 2,225 child offenders are serving
life sentences without parole. Sentences such as these are prohibited
under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed but not
ratified by the US.

Slowly the countries of the world are moving toward the abolition of the
death penalty and executions but there is still considerable way to go
before a worldwide ban is achieved.

To join the Campaign Against the Death Penalty contact: - Eleanor
Newland, 8 Southfield, Saltash, Cornwall PL12 4LX Tel: 01752 843417

                                    GOOD NEWS.

Good news is often in short supply in our Newsletters.
You could be excused for thinking that all is doom and gloom. So it has been good to report
on TWO pieces in this mailing

The second piece of GOOD NEWS is     from Iran, perhaps a somewhat unlikely source of good
news just now.

A press release from the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, based in
Geneva, reports that Ms. Zeynab Peyqambarzadeh, an Iranian Women’s Rights activist, was
released on bail on 16th May ’07. She had been detained and imprisoned without charge for 9
days following non-violent demonstrations before International Women’s Day. She was not
given any reasons for her detention.

          THE OTHER SIDE.

There is another side to the coin, however. The trend in today’s Iran is for the courts to
imprison activists without trial, without publicly revealed basic evidence and sometimes
even without charges.

 All women’s rights activists there need our prayers and support.

                                 Praise be Jesus Christ

 One of our members sends a list of prisoners to be prayed for to a Convent
 of at Ty Man Duw, Wales

 The Mother and sisters sent her a letter of appreciation and we have been
 given permission to copy excerpts from it.

 God bless you for your loving note with the list of prisoners from ACAT. The
 intentions are heart rendering, especially when one realises it is just the tip
 of the iceberg of the injustice and suffering in our poor old world. The
 situation in Zimbabwe is such that it is hard to credit that our government
 would think to turn away asylum seekers.
 We were struck by the down to earth realism of the prayer on the ACAT list
 for all in such great need. To it we could perhaps add a quote from Dietrich

 Am I really all that which other men tell of?
 Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
 Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
 Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
 Yearning for colours, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
 Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighbourliness,
 Tossing in expectations of great events,
 Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance.
 Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
 Faint and ready to say farewell to it all?
 Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine,
 Whoever I am, thou knowest, O God, I am thin

                       VERY IMPORTANT

                  ACAT CONFERENCE AND AGM
                      SATURDAY, 13th OCTOBER 2007


                               10.30 - 4.00

Speakers will include Craig Murray, who will talk about his experiences as UK
ambassador in Uzbekistan and someone from the Medical Foundation for the
Care of Victims of Torture. Both speakers should have much to tell us about
torture and its after effects.

           Do come and join us on this very important occasion

                                STOP PRESS

I have just been informed by Father Bohan that a month ago the Zambian
President decreed that the prisons were overcrowded, and ordered them to
be de-congested before October. The Officer in Charge of the prison in
Kabwe is apparently going through his files with a view to making his
recommendations. Father Bohan says that he feels that the whole exercise
should start within the next few days. I will keep you informed of


                               If you use e-mail, why not use
                          our ACAT web address after your
                          signature. ?
A THOUGHT                        Costs nothing, but spreads the
                                 word    effectively.
Publicity idea

                           PRAYERS and MEDITATION

The old mnemonic A C T S for the             From your nature comes Goodness, thank
practice of prayer still holds good.         you Lord;
                                             From your nature comes Love, thank you
A is for ADORATION.                          Lord.

Lord God, beyond all we can imagine,         For your world, of which we are merely
whose nature is total Love:                  tenants, thanks
We ADORE your Majesty and your               For our fellow humans, who are brothers
unfathomable Glory.                          and sisters, thanks
                                             For our experience of You, and for our
You create and sustain all life;             faith, thanks.
You have placed within us the capacity
to appreciate Beauty;                  LORD WE GIVE THANKS
You have given us a desire to Worship
you;                                   S is for SUPPLICATION

Lord God, we lift our spirits to you,  Father and Mother eternal, we seek your
the giver of Good and the Lover of all PEACE for all people;
                                       Bring peace to your world
LORD WE ADORE YOU                      Bring reconciliation to the nations
                                       Bring love and life to the tortured, the lost
C is for CONFESSION                    and the hungry,
                                       So that we may reflect your light into the
Compared to your perfection, O Lord, darkest corners
we are puny.                           And be beacons of HOPE to all who suffer.
As humans, we have your image
implanted in us,                       WE ASK YOU LORD.
Yet we so often distort that image
With our waywardness                   A PRAYER FOR THE TORTURED AND THEIR
With our desire for power              TORTURERS.
With our insensitivity to one another. LORD, tortured and crucified, suffering and dying,
                                             You identify with all who are in pain and agony.
FORGIVE us Lord, and help us climb           Pour your transforming power upon those who are
the hill to goodness and love-               now undergoing torture,
Love for you and for one another.            And on those who are now dispensing pain.
                                             May they know that love and goodness conquer all
LORD WE CONFESS                              The powers of the state, the armies, and the
                                             politicians are nothing compared with your
T is for THANKSGIVING                        omnipotent love.

                                             Bring that love, we pray, into the hearts and minds
THANK YOU, GOD, for your very self;          of all decision makers, all people with power, and
For the gift of Your Son, Jesus, the         all whose will it is to dominate others.
For His Resurrection to New Life,            For the tortured and for the torturers
which we can share.                          May your life-changing love bring worth,   healing
From your nature comes Beauty, thank         and hope;
you Lord;                                    For your resurrected Name’s sake, we pray.

                                                                              Richard Dent.
                           A Final Thought”

                         hatever you think the impact of
                               your work may be,
                      it will always be greater than you
                                 can imagine �

                          Syrian former prisoner of
                      conscience and poet, Faraj Ahmad

We hope you have found this mailing rewarding and challenging.

Articles are always welcome. It is particularly good to hear what you
have been doing to work for the tortured or to promote ACAT in your
neighbourhood or further a field, or any items of good news.

Your general comments on this newsletter or on ACAT (UK) would also be

Material –typed, handwritten or e-mailed to:-

 Margaret Russell
 47 Stoneleigh Road
 Knowle Park
 BS4 2RH                                        Material for the next mailing
                                                should reach us before
 email                        18thAugust please.

    Contact Address:-
          ACAT (UK)                 Tel. 01752 210389
          8 Southfield
          SALTASH                    e-mail
          Cornwall PL12 4LX

                               Registered Charity No. 1072826

                                President: Rev. Dr. Paul Oestreicher.
    Patrons:- Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, “Chas” Raws, Bishop Peter Price,
     Rev. David Deeks, Rev. Dr. David Cornick, Professor the Lord David Alton



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