News from Lori's Parents
24 November 1998In this update:
- Solitary Confinement for Lori Reaches 50 Days
- Recent Important Reuters Article About Lori
- New Updated Website: www.FreeLori.org/
- Reminder of Actions: Mark Your Calendar
Solitary Confinement for Lori Reaches 50 Days
Lori has completed 7 weeks of total isolation in Socabaya Prison. She lives in a "dark silence" from 6 pm to 6 am every day. She "celebrated" her 29th birthday all alone -- her guard would not share the gua-gua bread that was bought for the occasion.
Lori said she would like the opportunity to "socialize" with the other female prisoners -- teach them English, mathematics, history, music, knitting -- so they could lead more productive lives when they are released from prison.
The US government seems to be working at a snail's pace to end the outrageous isolation.
Recent Important Reuters Article About Lori
The following Reuters wire from Washington DC was printed in Peruvian and US newspapers on Saturday and Sunday:
Jailed MRTA Leaders Tell OAS Human Rights Group Lori Was Not A Member
WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Leftist rebel inmates at a Peruvian prison regard American fellow convict Lori Berenson as a "prisoner of conscience" and not one of their own, a member of a human rights delegation who recently visited the jail said on Friday.
The report could give new support to claims by Berenson's backers that she was wrongly convicted of being a leader of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), a Cuban-inspired guerrilla group.
MRTA guerrillas told members of the delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that Berenson was not a member of their group. "They told us that she is a prisoner of conscience, that she is not one of them," said the member of the delegation, who asked not to be identified.
"They are, of course, very open about calling themselves prisoners of war and all that, but they don't talk that way about her," the delegation member told Reuters.
A 14-person delegation from the commission visited Perú last week at the invitation of President Alberto Fujimori to investigate reports of human rights violations in Perú.
Berenson, a New Yorker convicted by a military court in 1996 of belonging to MRTA, has been held along with about 45 battle-hardened MRTA rebels in the notorious Yanamayo prison at a head-spinning 12,700 feet (3,900 metres) above sea level in the Andes mountains.
She was moved from Yanamayo to Socabaya prison near Arequipa in mid-October. A regional prison official has said she could be moved "as soon as possible" back to Yanamayo but prison officials confirmed on Friday she has not yet been moved.
Berenson had been living for more than a year in Perú when she was arrested in late 1995 and charged with helping to plan a guerrilla attack on Perú's Congress, which was later thwarted.
Conditions at the jail where she and some 380 other inmates have been held have been described as subhuman by international rights groups.
The delegation member said the prison's conditions were so harsh that they suggested Fujimori's government "was seeking to destroy the physical and mental well-being of these people."
"That's the only reason I can see for the rigorousness of these conditions," he said.
Despite the tough conditions, he said most inmates looked "surprisingly good" and seemed to be in generally good health.
The delegation met Fujimori and top Cabinet members and visited several prisons, where it described conditions as "extremely harsh including solitary confinements of 23 hours a day in very small spaces," the commission said in a report issued last week.
But the commission also noted "important advances" in Perú's human rights record since the commission's last visit in 1993, citing an end to reports of summary executions and "disappearances" of people by security forces, and said it was free to work and move within Perú.
Saturday, 21 November 1998 02:17:11
New Updated Website: www.FreeLori.org/
Ken Dubberly has updated and expanded on the works of Bill Wedemeyer and of Jim Salem and the new website can be easily accessed at www.FreeLori.org/ Typing in upper case or lower case letters should not matter -- come visit this new site!
Reminder of Actions: Mark Your Calendar
November 30 will mark three years since Lori's arrest. On November 30, please FAX the letter below (or one of your own) to President Clinton at 202-456-2461.
On that day, you can also call the White House hotline, 202-456-1111, and express your concern (or outrage). Tell President Clinton that November 30 marks three years of illegal imprisonment in Perú for Lori Berenson. Urge him to use his powers to press Peruvian President Fujimori for Lori's immediate release. Also remind him that Lori Berenson is suffering physically and needs his help NOW.
(PLEASE DOWNLOAD AND FAX)
202-456-2461 (Attention: Helen, Agency Liaison 6)
FREE LORI BERENSON
November 30, 1998
The Honorable William Jefferson Clinton
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Clinton:
Today, November 30th, marks three years of illegal imprisonment in Perú for Lori Berenson. I urge you to use all your powers to press Peruvian President Fujimori for Lori's immediate release. Lori Berenson's health continues to deteriorate. PLEASE HELP HER NOW!