We are pleased to attach a copy of the group’s January 2023 meeting minutes, with thanks to group member Lesley for producing them.
The award winning film Limbo was shown on Sunday
UPDATE 30 May 2022
A full house saw this moving film at the Arts Centre yesterday which unfortunately was marred by a long delay in getting the film to screen. Regrettably, it led to some people leaving before the problems were finally sorted.
Details and a link are on our previous post.
We gave people leaving a handout on the threat to abolish the Human Rights Act and this can be accessed here if you wish. Only two people declined!
We return to a film event after an absence of three years
We’re delighted to invite you to join us at the matinee screening of the BAFTA award-winning film Limbo, a wryly touching story of a refugee centre in the Outer Hebrides, showing at Salisbury Arts Centre White Room on Sunday 29 May at 2.30pm.
The Arts Centre are giving Salisbury Amnesty a short introductory slot to update the audience on the subject of refugees and we expect to have a relevant petition for audience members to sign.
It would be lovely if as many of you as possible could support this matinee screening, especially as it has been some time since our last public collaboration with the Arts Centre and we would like this to continue into the future.
Booking is now open on 01722 320333 and also online at www.wiltshirecreative.co.uk.
Tickets are £9 and the film lasts I hour 44 minutes. There is a lift to the White Room Studio. Masks are encouraged but no longer obligatory and you will be sitting next to other people as this isn’t a socially distanced performance.
We hope you are all well and we look forward very much to seeing you at this witty and moving film.
If you come here following the film Just Mercy shown at Playhouse, welcome and the case we referred to can be accessed from this link. It concerns a singer in Nigeria who is at risk of execution. As was explained, Amnesty opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. It is not a deterrent and mistakes which are many, cannot be rectified once someone has been executed.
The group produces a monthly report on cases and issues surrounding the penalty around the world and the most recent can be found here. We have also published a review of a discussion organised by Amnesty concerning the World Day Against the Death Penalty, (which Amnesty themselves have used), and this can be found here.
There are concerns that there is a desire to resume the death penalty in the UK and some politicians have said so but in the case of the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, she has said she no longer supports that position.
You may have heard of Reprieve and the work of Clive Stafford Smith in USA. Clive represents many people on death row some of whom were convicted on flimsy or circumstantial evidence. Unlike in the UK, police in many US States are under no obligation to reveal evidence which points to the suspect’s innocence. Clive’s fascinating book Injustice is reviewed on this page.
The Salisbury group is not just concerned with the death penalty but with human rights issue generally. We are concerned at the government’s desire to abolish the Human Rights Act especially when we leave the EU and we shall be campaigning on this if it comes to fruition.
We are not doing any face to face activities at present for obvious reasons but new members are welcome and following this site or Facebook or Twitter @salisburyai is something you can do. When normal times resume, we hope to get back to campaigning work.
Film Just Mercy to be shown on 4 November at 7pm in the Playhouse with an introduction by a member of the Salisbury group. For further details and how to buy tickets see the Wiltshire Creative post.
There is a majority of people in the UK who, for certain crimes, would like to see a return of the death penalty according to YouGov. The current home secretary, Priti Patel, has said the same on Question time although she now resiles from this. People in favour of the penalty should watch this film.
It concerns a female warden (governor in UK parlance) who is in charge of a prison where people are executed. Directed by a woman, Chinonye Chukwu and starring Alfre Woodard it illustrates the tension of those in charge of actually carrying out the gruesome task. At the start of the film, the execution process is botched and it takes quite a while for the prisoner to die, painfully.
The film charts the tension the warden experiences: on the one hand the desire to be professional and to do a good job and on the other, the doubts about the process itself. This tension is reflected in her marriage where her husband leaves her for a while.
In Hollywood terms, it is quite unusual. Firstly, because women feature a lot in the making of it. Secondly, no background music which allows the natural tension to build. The camera is allowed to linger on certain scenes and there is no frantic scene changes which are so irritating in much drama these days. Lastly, the drama is carried along by Woodard’s expressions and face rather than just dialogue.
It is truly a powerful and quite unique film and makes the fundamental point that the process of executions damages all who are involved in it.
Amnesty is opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. It does not deter and levels in violence in US states with the penalty is little different to those with it. Mistakes, which are frequent, cannot afterwards be rectified. The process, with appeals lasting years – the average in the US is 10 years – is expensive. It is applied unfairly with a disproportionate number of black people on death row. An examination of the trial of Kris Maharaj in Florida is also worth a read.
The group publishes a monthly report on the penalty around the world.
Meanwhile, the pace of executions in America continues with the Justice Dept. executing three people in four days, matching the total number the US government had conducted in the previous 3 decades (Washington Post). This is part of the ‘law and order’ promise by the President despite serious misgivings by many Americans about the fairness of the process and think it needs a complete overhaul.
The film is available on streaming services.
19 July 2020
Just Mercy film
We hope to show this film at the Arts Centre in November but it will depend of course on lockdown restrictions being lifted. It has been discussed in a recent Independent article. It is particularly apposite at the present time as it highlights the unequal status of black people in the US both with the police and the justice system as a whole. It also relates to our last post concerning the release of Walter Ogrod after many years on death row for a crime he did not commit.
We had a short meeting this month because the meeting date coincided with the Evensong at the Cathedral. The minutes are attached with thanks to group member Lesley for preparing them.
Some of the forthcoming events the group is planning.
These are always subject to change so please look here or on Facebook or Twitter for the up to date position before coming along.
Evensong An event largely organised by the Cathedral which we have held every year now for quite some time. 12 March starting at 5:30 pm. Free to come
Thrill of Love This is a play at the Studio Theatre in Butts Road concerning Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in the UK. We hope to hand out leaflets at the event (subject to permission from the theatre). We have abolished the penalty in the UK but from time to time, a desire to reinstate it emerges especially after some terrible crime or terrorist attack. Amnesty is opposed to the penalty in all circumstances. We publish a monthly report on the subject. 23 – 28 March
Citizenship day Schools event 30 June. If anyone from one of the local schools is reading this and would like us to do our presentation in your school, please get in touch.
Market stall In Salisbury market place morning of 11 July starting early. Goods to sell would be welcome and we can collect if needed. No electrical items (we cannot sell them untested) or VHS tapes please.
Film, Just Mercy Brilliant film concerning the racially segregated south of America and a black man sentenced to death for the murder of a white girl, a crime he did not commit. Not shown in Salisbury. Showing at the Arts Centre 4 November.
These are the things we have planned at present. If you are thinking of joining us you would be most welcome and introducing yourself at one of the above would be the easiest thing to do.
We are keeping a watching brief on human rights issues in the UK because several ministers and politicians would like to see the Human Rights Act abolished.
Minutes of the January meeting
Lively meeting this month and we were pleased to welcome another new member. We discussed the death penalty report; North Korea; the UK government’s possible changes to the Human Rights Act and forthcoming events. We also discussed the closure of the neighbouring New Forest group which we hope may not be permanent. Next meeting on 13 February.
If you are interested in human rights and would like to join us you would be very welcome. You will see our events at the end of the minutes so making yourself known at one of those would be a way to join. It is free to join the Salisbury group. One of our concerns is the new government’s plans to possibly weaken human rights especially when we leave the EU so helping us with that would be appreciated.