News from Lori's Parents

16 June 2003

In this update:


June 20 is 2nd anniversary of Lori's wrongful sentencing

Friday, June 20 is the second anniversary of Lori's wrongful sentencing in a trial under laws that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled fail to meet international standards of fairness and due process.


Call To Action

We ask for your help. Both President Bush and President Toledo must be reminded of the continued injustice against Lori.

To remind President Bush, on June 20th please telephone the White House hotline at (202) 456-1111. Ask for a "hot line" operator. Say you are calling in regard to Lori Berenson. First, thank President Bush for speaking about Lori when he met with President Toledo on his visit to Perú last year. Then, mention that it is June 20th, the second anniversary of Lori's sentencing following her second unfair trial. Lori has now been in prison for over seven-and-a-half years. She should not have to be in prison another day. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights declared Perú must totally restore Lori's rights and compensate her for economic, moral, and psychological damages and Perú must completely overhaul the illegal anti-terrorism laws under which Lori was twice tried. State that it is President Bush's obligation to demand the freedom of any American unjustly imprisoned abroad. Say that you urge the President to demand Lori's release. If you prefer, you can Fax a letter to the White House at (202) 456-2461 rather than call.

To remind President Toledo, please write a letter and send it by Fax or e-mail (DO NOT CALL) to Peruvian Ambassador Roberto Danino. Address your letter to:

Ambassador Roberto Danino
Embassy of the Republic of Perú
1700 Mass. Ave, NW
Washington DC, 20036
Fax: (202) 659-8124
e-mail: peru@peruemb.org

Sample Letter
Dear Ambassador Danino,

I am writing in regard to Lori Berenson. Today, June 20, is the second anniversary of Lori's sentencing following her second unfair trial. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has declared this civilian trial as well as her first military trial illegal and lacking in fairness and due process. Lori has now spent more than seven-and-a-half years in prison (since November of 1995), for a crime of which she is innocent.

It is clear Lori's case was used by ex-President Fujimori for personal gain and to show his prowess in standing up to the United States. We all now know of Fujimori's endless corruption and orchestration of human rights abuses against the people of Perú.

Lori should be released now. She should not have to wait until the Inter-American Court of Human Rights acts. I urge you to work with President Toledo, President Bush, and Secretary of State Powell to secure Lori's release.

Respectfully,
Name and address


Mark visits Lori during Perú's "State of Emergency"

Owing to wide spread social unrest and strikes called by teachers, transportation workers, health care workers, agricultural workers and judicial workers, on May 27 President Toledo invoked a "30-day state of emergency," giving broad powers to the army and police to control the country and temporarily suspend various civil liberties. Tanks rolled through the streets of Lima. Amnesty International, WOLA, and Human Rights Watch called for calm and expressed concerns over potential human rights abuses. In this setting, Mark visited Lori last weekend. He found Lori to be in good spirits and the prison was calm, as was the city of Cajamarca. However, Lori was not permitted to receive apples during this visit.


President Toledo received letters of concern about Lori

Despite the "state of emergency" in Perú, President Toledo was the keynote speaker at his alma mater, Stanford University, yesterday. A letter expressing concern for Lori and signed by 115 members of Stanford's prestigious faculty was given to President Toledo. A similar letter for President Toledo, endorsed by 50 well-known writers, religious leaders, academics, and human rights leaders, was delivered to the Peruvian Embassy in Washington today. These letters urge President Toledo to personally look into Lori's case, given that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ruled last year that her rights must be totally restored and Perú has failed to heed the Commission's recommendations. We are very grateful to the Stanford faculty for its support and to the friends and supporters who endorsed the similar letter.


- Rhoda and Mark Berenson