News from Lori's Parents

12 July 1999

In this update:


Perú withdraws from human rights court leaving Lori in limbo

After a month of threats, Peruvian President Fujimori got his "controlled Congress" to pass a law removing Perú from the Inter-American Human Rights Court of the OAS. Lori's case is scheduled for a full hearing at the Inter-American Human Rights Commission of the OAS in October. She expected full vindication from that body and from the Court. Perú's latest disdain for human rights and its international commitments once more prevents Lori from receiving justice in that country.

This action by President Fujimori is clearly a preemptive attack on the Court because he is afraid of forthcoming unfavorable decisions -- including an order to reinstate judges he dismissed after they decided his bid for a third presidential term would be unconstitutional and an order to return a TV station confiscated from Baruch Ivcher, now in asylum in Miami, who fled Perú after he accused the government of widespread corruption in a TV program. These are in addition to the expected Court decision against Perú in Lori's case that President Fujimori also fears. (See our web site for articles).


Immediate call to action

The Subcommittee on Foreign Operations of the House Appropriations Committee is meeting this Wednesday to discuss the allocation of funds to Perú. Full Committee vote is anticipated on 20 July.

If any of the following individuals is your Congressional Representative, please call or fax immediately, ask for the Legislative staff-person listed, and urge that all but humanitarian aid to the poor be withheld from Perú because of that government's disdain for democratic principles, human rights, and international legal commitments. Urge that Perú not be rewarded while it continues to deny the human rights of its own citizens, foreigners and, in particular, U.S. citizen Lori Berenson.

Congressional RepresentativeLegislative StaffTelephoneFax
Sonny Callahan, R - ALNancy Tippins202-225-4931202-225-0562
Michael P. Forbes, R - NYDavid Silverstein202-225-3826202-225-3143
Jesse Jackson, Jr., D - ILCharles Dujon202-225-0773202-225-0899
Carolyn Kilpatrick, D - MIKimberly Rudolph202-225-2261202-225-5730
Jack Kingston, R - GAAdam Sullivan202-225-5831202-226-2269
Joe Knollenberg, R - MICraig Albright202-225-5802202-226-2356
Jerry Lewis, R - CAAlexa Heslop202-225-5861202-225-6498
Nita M. Lowey, D - NYMatthew Traub202-225-6506202-225-0546
Ron Packard, R - CAEric Mondero202-225-3906202-225-0134
Nancy Pelosi, D - CAMs. Bartholomew202-225-4965202-225-8259
John Edward Porter, R - ILRobert H. Bradner202-225-4835202-225-0837
Martin Olav Sabo, D - MNAlan Dillingham202-225-4755N/A
Frank R.Wolf, R - VAAnne Huiskes202-225-5136202-225-0437

If your Congressperson is not on the above list, please call Charles O. Flickner, the Overall Staff Assistant to the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, at 202-225-2041, and urge that all but humanitarian aid to the poor be withheld from Perú because of that government's disdain for democratic principles, human rights, and international legal commitments. Urge that Perú not be rewarded while it continues to deny the human rights of its own citizens, foreigners and, in particular, U.S. citizen Lori Berenson. Tell him withdrawal from the Inter-American Human Rights Court of the OAS is a disgrace and should not be tolerated.


Lori requests transfer from Socabaya

Peruvian and some US papers this weekend announced that Lori has formally requested transfer from Socabaya Prison in southern Perú to Cajamarca Prison in northern Perú, or, if this is unacceptable, a return to Yanamayo Prison in southern Perú. The horrible conditions of Lori's current incarceration have left her with no choice. As terrible as life is in Yanamayo Prison at a height of 12,700 feet, it is, for her, better than living in isolation as she has since being moved to Socabaya at a height of 7,600 feet more than nine months ago. We have no idea whether the Peruvian government will comply with her request.

Lori would obviously prefer transfer to a prison in a less harsh physical environment, Cajamarca is similar in climate to Socabaya, but would return to Yanamayo rather than remain isolated. She mentioned that she has been the only prisoner at Socabaya who is incarcerated under the maximum security regimen and has less yard time that other inmates in her wing. Perú has not permitted her to be integrated with the 62 minimum security female prisoners that are housed in Socabaya. The few women who were moved to Lori's prison wing live in separate cells under a different prison regimen. Lori has no meaningful contact with these other prisoners and is very isolated.

It is difficult for us to imagine what Lori faces, living in a 6 by 10 foot cold, all-concrete cell with nothing but a mattress on a concrete slab that serves as a bed and a hole in the floor for a toilet. There is no furniture. There are no mirrors. She is not permitted to hang pictures on the bare walls. She has no heat, no running water, and no windows. It is now winter and the nights are very cold, although not as cold as Yanamayo. She is permitted out of her cell only two hours each day.


- Rhoda and Mark Berenson