The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 9, 1991 - Page 3
Amnesty hears from saved prisoner
- -=Conteris recounts personal experience of political repression in Uruguay
by Karen Pier
Daily Staff Reporter
After eight years as a political
prisoner in Uruguay, Hiber Con-
teris is grateful to Amnesty Interna-
tional and not bitter toward his
Those are two of the things
Conteris, in good, but halting En-
glish, discussed at a celebration of
Amnesty International's (AI) 30th
anniversary Friday in the Rackham
"Honestly, I am not bitter," he
told more than 100 people, adding
that he felt the guards rationalized
He also spoke of his gratitude to
Amnesty International. A local
chapter of Al in Madison, Wisc.,
took on his case and thousands of
postcards were written on his
He speaks often for Amnesty,
which tries to help political prison-
ers worldwide by mounting letter-
writing campaigns, and said he will
"accept any invitation from any of
the Amnesty International (groups)"
One reason he said he speaks so
often is to show Al members that
they are writing letters on behalf of
real people. "(AI members) work
for people you never see," he said.
Before his arrest, Conteris was a
professor, writer and columnist in
his native Uruguay. But he was not
popular with the government, pri-
marily because of the political
views expressed in two of his four
novels and his newspaper column.
He was also a human rights ac-
tivist who spoke out against war.
He traveled to America to protest
the Vietnam War.
Conteris eventullly paid fpr his
political positions. He was removed
from the university. Then his
books mysteriously began to disap-
pear from bookstores.
Soon Conteris found himself in
more trouble. In 1976, while he
was away in Czechslovakia, police
came repeatedly to the apartment he
and his girlfriend shared in
Uruguay, asking for him. Once
they interrogated her for nine hours.
After his return to Uruguay, he
realized he had to escape. He decided
to fly to Buenos Aries and then take
a plane to Europe, but was arrested
in the plane just before it took off.
That began his eight years of
imprisonment. At first, for three
months, he was hooded and interro-
gated daily. This was to break him
down, he said, so that he would
sign a confession. This would be
the basis of the trial. Found guilty,
he was sentenced to 15 years and
one to five "security years," in
which he would still have to remain
Conteris was not alone in his
political imprisonment. "Since
1971, the number of political pris-
oners ranged from 5,000 to 6,000
to even as high as 8,000," he said.
In 1976, it was estimated that one
out every 500 people was a politi-
cal prisoner, he said.
"I would have signed the confes-
sion the first day, but they wouldn't
let me," Conteris said. "They
He wrote four novels and a col-
lection of short stories in prison.
On a dare from another prisoner,
Conteris revived the character of
Philip Marlowe for his mystery
novel Ten Percent of Life, now
translated into four languages, in-
He eventually was released when
a new government came into
power, and all political prisoners -
as well as the captors - were given
Conteris is now the chair of the
Division of Modern Languages at
Alfred University in New York.
Hiber Conteris, a former prisoner of conscience in Uruguay, speaks at
the Rackham Amphitheater Friday.
WAYNE, Mich. (AP) - Freed arriving in Clark Lake to rest and
hostage Alann Steen, who sustained prepare for a wonderful holiday sea-
brain damage from a beating by one son."
of his captors in Lebanon, was re- Steen awoke at 7 a.m. Sunday, ate
leased yesterday from a hospital breakfast and lunch and met with
where he was treated after suffering the hospital chaplain, the Rev.
a seizure. Bernard Polarski, Chapman said. He
Steen had the seizure Saturday said Steen took a nap after lunch,
soon after getting into a limousine woke about 2 p.m. and began pack-
at Detroit Metropolitan Airport ing.
for a 75-mile drive to his wife's Dr. Surindar Jolly, a neurologist,
house in Clark Lake. said Steen suffered the seizure just
Steen had just arrived from after entering the lirmo.
Frankfurt, Germany, with a "He suddenly blacked out and
stopover in Boston. He was taken to was undble to speak," Jolly said
0 Annapolis Hospital and admitted Saturday night. He said Steen was
for observation. unconscious for "just a minute or
Steen and his wife, Virginia, two" and was coherent when he
walked out of the hospital about reached the hospital several minutes
2:45 p.m. yesterday and quickly later.
climbed into a limo for the drive to Jolly re-examined Steen yester-
Clark Lake. day and cleared him to leave, Chap-
Asked how he felt, Steen said, man said.
"Much better now." He said he An Annapolis nurse was to ac-
"for sure" was looking forward to company the Steens to Clark Lake
getting home. and make sure arrangements are in
Steen was cleared to leave the place for his continued medical care,
suburban Detroit hospital after un- Chapman added.
dergoing tests and an examination Steen was freed last Tuesday af-
earlier in the day, said hospital ter nearly five years as a captive in
spokesperson Roger Chapman. Beirut.
"Alann's had a good night's rest Steen said Thursday an unpro-
and is very much looking forward to voked attack by his kidnapper in
the last leg of his journey home, 1987 left him with permanent brain
Mrs. Steen said in a statement after damage, forcing him to take drugs to
spending the night at her husband's control seizures and blackouts.
'His condition is very stable, The seizures affect the left side
and he has had no more seizures," of Steen's brain, which controls sen-
she said. "His medication has been sations such as touch and pain, Jolly
adjusted, and his spirits are high. ... said. Steen probably will be suscep-
After arriving home, we will be tible to similar seizures for the rest
following up with his care. of his life, Jolly said.
"The Steens appreciate every- Steen's seizure occurred without
one's concern, and look forward to warning, Jolly said.
A student and a child combine efforts to create the perfect holiday card. A party was held in South Quad
Saturday for low-income youth in Ann Arbor.
Sunrunner victory captured
in new video documentary
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) -
Kimberly Bergalis, who contracted
AIDS from her dentist and became
the focus of a national crusade for
mandatory testing of health profes-,
sionals, died yesterday at home sup-
rounded by her family. She was 23.
Her plight stirred a bitter battle
over whether mandatory testing and
AIDS disclosure among doctors,
nurses and dentists would improve
"The world has lost a great deal,
but the world will never, ever for-
get how brave and how caring aiid
how determined that lady was,"
said Barbara Webb, a retired English
teacher who also was infected by
dentist David Acer.
Bergalis' lawyer, Robert Mont-
gomery, said her father phoned
shortly after 3 a.m. and said:
"Kimberly is not going to suffer
Bergalis shocked the nation in
September 1990 when she came
forward to say she was "patient A,"
the first known U.S. case of a pa-
tient who contracted AIDS during- a
"Her courageous spirit and her
determination to help others avoid
her own fate touched Florida and
the nation," Gov. Lawton Chiles
Bergalis was born Jan. 19, 1968,
in Tamaqua, Pa., and moved to
Florida with her family in 1978.
She was studious in high school,
a member of the Math League, Span-
ish Club and National Honor Soci-
ety, with little time left for a social
She graduated with a business de-
gree from the University of Florida
and was pursuing post-graduate
study in actuary science when she
got sick in late 1989.
Doctors initially rejected the
idea of infection by the dentist, but
in January, the U.S. Centers for Dis-
ease Control determined that her
particular strain of HIV alm t
identically matched Acer's.
by Mona Qureshi
Daily Staff Reporter
Move over, Arnold and Kevin.
In addition to Terminator 2 and
Dances With Wolves, this holiday
season's video sales herald another
action-packed film. Odyssey Pro-
ductions, a local company, has cre-
ated and begun marketing a docu-
mentary on the University solar car
Titled The Making of Sunrun-
ner, Winner of GM Sunrayce USA,
the 43-minute video covers the car
from its design stage in November
1989 to its July 1990 victory in the
Approximately 30 other univer-
sities participated in the Sunrayce, a
solar car race from Walt Disney
World in Florida to the General
Motors Tech Center in Warren,
George Bournias, a partner in
Odyssey, said most funding for the
documentary came from Domino's
Pizza Corp. Mal Sellars, a weather
forecaster for WDIV-TV in De-
troit, narrated the video as a dona-
tion to the project.
Bournias said he chose to follow
the Sunrayce because he knew one of
the people who conceived the race
with General Motors and the Soci-
'It's an excellent
depiction of what we
- Justin Beres
ety of Automotive Engineers.
He said he decided to document
the Sunrunner because he knew peo-
ple who worked on the project, and
because of its local interest.
"The rest became history. I ended
up with a winning car," Bournias
Four months later, the Sunrun-
ner placed third in the World Solar
Challenge, a transcontinental solar
car race across Australia.
Odyssey has received several re-
quests for the video from students
who worked on the project, organi-
zations, schools and other interest
people, Bournias said.
"Ultimately, the goal of the so-
lar car project involved having a
number of younger students look at
engineering, math, and science at a
university level," Bournias said.
He said he hopes the video also
will remind people of the impor-
tance and fun involved in these sub-
jects. "It was more than a classroom
activity ... it was hands-on ... and
this project shows there are great
strides to be made in developing cer-
tain technology like solar as well
as alternative energy," Bournias
Sunrunner team member Justin
Beres, an Engineering senior, rec-
ommended the film. "It's an excel-
lent depiction of what we did ...
there is a humongous interest in so-
lar car technology. We showed it to
fourth and fifth graders in Ann Ar-
bor and they loved it. It's appealing
to both children and adults."
What's happening in Ann Arbor today
Enact, weekly mtg. SNR, 1040 Dana, 7
Indian American Student Associa-
tion, weekly board mtg. All members
welcome. League, mtg rm C, 8 p.m.
U-M Greens, weekly mtg. Union, Tap
Room, 5 p.m.
Support Group for Women Who Are
or Have Been in an Abusive Relation-
ship. First United Methodist Church, 3-
Hindu Students Council. Topic:
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4. MLB,
B115A, 8 p.m.
Undergraduate Philosophy Club, so-
cial. 2220 Angell, 6 p.m.
Undergraduate Psych Society, mass
mtg. 35 Angell, 7:30.
U-M Asian American Student Asso-
ciation, committee mtg. East Quad, 52
Women in Communications, resume
workshop. All welcome. 2050 Frieze, 6
"Whistleblowing in Science," Carolyn
Phinney.1014 Dow Bldg, 3:30-5.
hours are 1 a.m. -3 a.m. at the Angell
Hall Computing Center or call 763-
Safewalk's last day of service for the
term is Wednesday, Dec. 11.
Northwalk, North Campus safety
walking service. Sun-Thur 8 p.m.-1:30
a.m. and Fri. and Sat. 8 p.m.-1l:30 p.m.
Stop by 2333 Bursley or call 763-
Northwalk's last day of service for the
term is Wednesday, Dec. 11.
English Department Coffee Hour, ev-
ery Monday. Haven 7th floor lounge, 3-
U-M Ninjitsu Club, Monday practice.
IM Bldg, wrestling rm, 7:30-9.
ECB Peer Writing Tutors. An-
gell/Mason Computing Center, 7-11.
611 Church, 7-9.
U-M Taekwondo Club, Monday
workout. CCRB Martial Arts Rm,'
U-M Ultimate Frisbee Club. Men andj
women of all skills welcome. Ooster-
baan Bldg,9-10:30. Call 668-2886 for
"Against Greed," submissions ac-
cepted. $100 will be donated to charity
for each acceptable work. Due to Bert
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.
(AP) - A criminal evidence ex-
pert hired by the defense in the
William Kennedy Smith rape
trial admitted under cross-exami-
nation yesterday that his testi-
mony was based on visual exami-
nations and guesswork.
Henry Lee, chief criminalist of
the state of Connecticut, had said
the alleged victim's clothing
showed no signs of grass stains or
other damage consistent with the
struggle on the Kennedy estate
lawn described by the woman.
In a rare Sunday court session
ordered in hopes the trial will be
over by Christmas, Lee said he
was not allowed to use the cloth-
ing still held by police as evi-
Assistant State Attorney
Ellen Roberts asked if he houht a
ubted in Smith trial
sexual battery, Florida's legal
equivalent to rape, and misde-
He is accused of raping a
woman after meeting her at a
nightclub during Easter weekend.
Earlier during defense ques-
tioning, Lee testified that he saw
the dress and underwear and could
observe no grass, soil, blood
stains or other damage.
"Because there are no grass
stains on the dress doesn't mean a
rape didn't occur, is that correct?"
Ms. Roberts asked later.
"That's correct," Lee said.
Lee said he went to the estate
with defense lawyer Mark Seiden
last June and did a "transfer
test," wiping a white handker-
chief on the grass and concrete to
show how stains transfer to fab-
Lee also acknowledged that
this was the first time he ever
tried rubbing the grass with a
handkerchief to simulate evidence.
Lee was one of several wit-
nesses hired by the defense to ana-