News from Lori's Parents
4 December 1997In this update:
- Campaign of Letters and Postcards to the President
- Representative Maloney Delivers House of Representatives Letter to Secretary of State Albright -- Support for Due Process for Lori Mounts
- Events Commemorating the 2nd Anniversary of Lori's Incarceration
Campaign of Letters and Postcards to the President
We have started a "Letters and Postcards to the President" campaign. We plan to have these letters and cards hand delivered (in large sacks!) to the President by a group of Congressional Representatives.
Please print the following letter (make copies for friends, neighbors, and relatives), sign them, and return them to
50 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
We will be collecting them from across the country at least until the end of December -- depending on when delivery to President Clinton can be arranged.
William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States of America
The White House
Dear President Clinton:
Beginning on November 30, 1995, Lori Berenson, a 26-year old U.S citizen and journalist was arrested by Peruvian military police, tried before a secret military tribunal and sentenced to life in prison, all in violation of due process and international law. Indeed, to say she has had a "trial" is to make a mockery of the word. She has spent the past two years in an Andean maximum security military prison under inhumane, in fact barbaric, conditions that threaten her very life.
We do not understand why, given your forceful pleas on behalf of prisoners of conscience of other nations, you have failed to speak out on behalf of one of your own citizens. All Lori Berenson asks is a fair trial in a civilian court. She continues to proclaim her innocence and states that she is being punished for her beliefs.
We are now asking our elected representatives to appeal to you to meet your legal and moral obligations to obtain justice for Lori Berenson. Do not, by your silence, allow her to suffer any longer!
Representative Maloney Delivers House of Representatives Letter to Secretary of State Albright -- Support for Due Process for Lori Mounts
Thanks to all your help, calls, letters, and emails to your Congressional Representatives, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (Democrat, New York) will deliver the "Dear Colleague" letter to Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright today. This letter, initiated by Congresswoman Maloney and cosponsored by Representatives Jim Leach (Republican, Iowa), Ron Dellums (Democrat, California), and Connie Morella (Republican, Maryland) contains 175 signatures. In addition, one Congressman, J. Johnson (Democrat, Wisconsin) decided to send his own letter to Secretary Albright and Congressman Walter Capps (Democrat, California), a strong supporter of due process and justice for Lori, died before he was able to sign the letter. Our hearts go out to his family -- his voice and representation will be greatly missed in the United States Congress.
An alphabetical list of signers will be available on Lori's web site soon. We are very grateful for the hard work of the staff of Representative Maloney -- particularly Minna Elias in New York City, and Maggie McDow and Claire Dowling in Washington, D.C., which made this effort possible. We have been told that the 175 signatures represents one of the largest gathering of signatures in the House of Representatives for a "Dear Colleague" letter in recent memory. It demonstrates that the continued miscarriage of justice in the case of Lori Berenson will not be tolerated, that the issue will not "go away" and will continue to be an ever growing "thorn in the side" of Peruvian - U.S. relations. In August 1996, a "Dear Colleague" letter attained 87 signatures.
The "Dear Colleague" letter to Secretary Albright sponsored by Senator Daniel Patrict Moynihan (Democrat, New York) is still circulating through tomorrow.
Events Commemorating the 2nd Anniversary of Lori's Incarceration
Candlelight Vigils have already taken place in Burlington, VT, Los Angeles, CA, New York City, NY, Olympia, WA, Riverside, CA, and Washington, DC. Announcements of future Vigils will be given next week.
The Los Angeles Vigil at the Peruvian Consulate had more than 120 attendees -- including U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Reverend James Lawson of the Holman United Methodist Church, and human rights activists Kasey Casem and David Clennon (Thirtysomething). The New York City Vigil near the United Nations had over 100 attendees -- including U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.
Prayer services to reflect on the wrongful incarceration of Lori and other prisoners of conscience and political prisoners in Perú and throughout the world were held in synogogoues and churches across the country. In particular, we are very grateful to the organizers of such services in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St.Louis, Los Angeles, Green Bay, Stamford, New York City, Ft. Lauderdale, Washington D.C., and Baltimore.