Minutes of Group meeting March 9th 2015

Attending: Paul, Elizabeth, Leo, Heiko, Carmel, Beatrice, Liz, Claudia , Helen. Grainne, Carolyn, Paddy, Noa

Apologies: Pearse

Welcome & Minutes: Paul welcomed everyone to the meeting & asked if any comments from February minutes. No comments

Pub Quiz: Paul advised the pub quiz is 10th March at The Sunflower bar, Union Street,  8pm for 8.30pm. Paul will do the door. Helen is quiz master. Beatrice will do ballot. Group agreed to charge 50p each or £2 for 5 ballot tickets.

Welcome back: Paul welcomed back to the group Carmel, Leo & Heiko who were unable to attend the last couple of meetings.

Stop Torture Campaign Mournes walk:  Paul, Grainne & Heiko all advised they were driving. Lifts were organised.  Walk is 14th March 2015.

Next meeting: Paul advised the main focus of the next meeting would be the  AGM resolutions

AOB: Carmel advised her Donegal cottage was again available for rent. Carmel to forward details to Heiko & Beatrice so cottage details can go on the group’s facebook page & can be sent to the mailing list.

GUEST SPEAKER: Claudia welcomed AIUK North America Country Coordinator Noa Kleinman.

Noa gave the group a background to our IAR Jacqueline Montanez case. Jacqueline was sentenced to life without parole for murders committed when she was  16. Noa advised Jacqueline will have a resentencing hearing & be moved to a prison nearer her family. Noa advised Jacqueline’s lawyer has asked that groups don’t write to the judge, instead they write to Jacqueline. The group signed a solidarity card for Jacqueline.

Noa advised how there are positives such as the fall in the use of the death penalty but many negatives such as the continuing brutality in prisons & widespread poverty & social injustice. In prison solitary confinement is common eg Albert Woodfox one of the “Angola 3” was been kept in solitary confinement for 40 years. The US prison system offers little rehabilitation & there are numerous miscarriages of justice.

Noa also spoke how working on human rights abuses committed in US can be frustrating as there is often lack of response from the authorities. The Canadian authorities are more likely to reply to groups campaigning against human rights abuses.

Noa also spoke of human rights abuses in Canada including abuses against the indigenous population in disputes over mining & indigenous land.  Noa also spoke of the very high number of indigenous women murdered & disappeared. 1000+ indigenous women were murdered between 1980-2015 a much high number proportionately compared to other women. AI Canada are working with indigenous womens groups.

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