21 April 2021

Minutes for April 2021 meeting

Wednesday, 21 April 2021 (via Zoom)

In attendance: Jeff, Barbara, Bob, Bill, Frank, Tilo, Struan, Marsha

Welcome and Introductions

  • Barb gave a report on AIUSA's April 19 webinar on the recent release of its annual report "Death Sentences and Executions 2020" (report overview; complete report)
    • Worldwide executions were down 26% (483 in 2020 versus 657 in 2019) during the pandemic
    • The five countries that execute the most people are (in descending over) China, Iran, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia
    • At the end of 2020, over 28,000 people were known to be on death row globally
    • The USA is the only country in the Americas to carry out executions in 2020
  • AIUSA will soon be launching a campaign for clemency for Rocky Myers
    • He has been on death row in Alabama for 26 years
    • He is a Black man who was convicted by an all-white jury of the murder of a white woman
    • The jury handed down a sentence of life in prison, but the judge overrode them (an action that is no longer allowed by state law)
    • [NOTE: AIUSA has not yet published information about this online. Additional details are available from the ACLU page on this case.]
Film Recommendations
  • Jeff: Nasrin, a 2020 documentary film about Nasrin Sotoudeh.
    • From the IMDB listing: "An immersive portrait of one of the world's most courageous human rights activists and political prisoners, Nasrin Sotoudeh, and of Iran's remarkably resilient women's rights movement."
    • Currently streaking (for a fee) at https://www.nasrinfilm.com/. 
  • Barbara and Bob: The Mauritanian, a 2021 film about Mohamedou Ould Slahi
    • Based on Slahi's 2015 memoir Guantánamo Diary
    • Slahi was imprisoned in Guantánamo Bay by the U.S. government for 14 years without charge
  • "Journalists Must Be Released Immediately" (Iraq: UA 28/21)
  • "Assistant Judge Risks Double Prosecution" (Iraq: UA 10/20)
  • "Four Bahraini Minors Tried as Adults" (Bahrain: UA 30/21)
  • "Health of Death Row Prisoner in Sharp Decline" (Pakistan: UA 27/21)-->There are updates to this case; Bill will send out a new letter.
  • "Activist Detained for Reporting Torture" (China: UA 31/21)
Other News
  • Hoping for an update from Marksen next time
    • He was going to meet with the AIUSA area expert on Algeria
    • Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie (MAK)
    • Amnesty does not usually get involved in self-determination cases except where there are freedom of speech issues
  • Thoughts about the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder case

Next meeting (online): Wednesday, 19 May 2021, 7:30 p.m. 

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