Thursday, 27 March 2014

A good news story (but with a danger)

Amazing news from Japan: Hakamada Iwao, possibly the world's longest-serving death row prisoner has been released from prison after 45 years, and is now awaiting a retrial. Our group has campaigned on his behalf for many years, so this is very promising news. But his freedom is not yet guaranteed, as there are legal proceedings still going on.

You can read the details from Amnesty UK, and also complete an urgent action requesting the prosecutors not to appeal his release. I have to admit that personally I have been rather pessimistic in this case, but let's hope that Hakamada's long nightmare will end soon. And let's not forget other prisoners facing death penalty, with serious consequences on their mental health. Amnesty published a report in 2009 with more information on Japanese prisons and the death penalty, you can find it here.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Dates for your diary!

As autumn is now most definitely here, and winter approaches, I'm happy to share the good news that our group has many exciting events coming up to keep us from hibernation! So start making notes in your diary, these are the events I'm currently aware of:

Book Sale – Sunday 29 September
We will be at the Vibe Bar in Brick Lane again. The sale will take place from 11am to 3pm, but if you are able to come and help, we will be there from 10am to 4pm or so, setting up and clearing away any unsold books.

Street Collection – Saturday 12 October 2013
We will be collecting around Tower Hill station. Exact timings to be confirmed.

Write for Rights campaign
The usual annual UK-wide greetings card writing action. Preferred date would be Saturday 7 December, but the date, like the venue, is not yet confirmed.

The September to November group meetings are at slightly unusual times and locations:
  • Tuesday 24 September – from 7pm at Human Rights Action Centre in Shoreditch. To organise and price books. 
  • Please not that there will be no meeting on 17 September! 
  • Sunday 13 October – Kahaila Café, 135 Brick Lane, 10:30 to 12:00. 
  • Tuesday 22 October – Our usual venue at Cable Street, 8pm 
  • Sunday 10 November – Kahaila Café, 10:30 to 12:00. 
  • Tuesday 26 November – Cable Street, 8pm 

More details on all of the events will follow as it gets confirmed. Keep an eye on the blog, Twitter, Facebook, or the group email list.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

We are tweeting!

Indeed, we also have a Twitter account now! If you have one too, please follow the group. You can find us as @AIUKCTH.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Coffee shop group meetings

In addition to our regular Tuesday meetings (every second and fourth Tuesdays of the month), we are also experimenting with weekend daytime meetings! Our next meeting is therefore on Sunday the 8th September, from 10:30am to 12pm. There will be some talk about human rights, our future events, and other group activities, in an informal setting, so don't be afraid to just turn up and find out what we do!

The venue is the Kahaila Cafe, an amazing community cafe on Brick Lane (135 Brick Lane); Kahaila actually means 'life in community'! The cafe is very popular and they are being extremely supportive of us as well.

And most important of all, my sources tell me that "they do GREAT cake!" You can see their website here. Hope to see many of you there on Sunday!

Monday, 18 February 2013


How confident would you be in identifying crisp flavours in a blind tasting test? Well, you probably shouldn't be. At least my team failed rather miserably, outside of the easy "salt and vinegar" kind. But then who knew that pesto and thyme flavour crisps even existed? Well, we do know. And despite the gustatory difficulty of that round (see, I'm beginning to sound like Stephen Fry already!), it was nonetheless only one of the many enjoyable series of challenges.

Our brains were also racked in identifying real and imaginary Olympic sports, matching Shakespeare quotes to plays, the beginnings of the Village People, the numbers of JS Bach offspring, and many more fiendish queries. I bet even Mr Fry would have missed a few. But the winning team won, all the other teams did really well too, there were prizes, pizzas, a raffle, and outstanding guest compering. And what is more, a good time was had by all.