House of Representatives Letter to President Fujimori

February 1996

February 15, 1996

Presidente de la Republica
Ing. Alberto Fujimori Fujimori
Palacio de Gobierno
Plaza de Armas S/N, Lima 1 - Peru

Dear President Fujimori,

We are writing with respect to Lori Berenson, a 26 year old American woman, who was sentenced to life in prison by a Peruvian military court on treason charges. The sentence was life, even though the maximum sentence requested by Peruvian prosecutors was 30 years. During her trial, Lori was not given an opportunity to call or cross examine witnesses, or to present exculpatory evidence. Lori has appealed the judgment against her. Although her initial appeal was rejected by a military court, we understand that there is still a possibility for another appeal to a civilian court.

We believe that it is legally impossible for an American citizen to commit treason against a foreign government. Additionally, we believe that it is inappropriate for a civilian to be tried in a military court. Accordingly, we urge you to ensure that Lori is offered a chance to present her defense in a civilian court as quickly as possible.

The Peruvian Government has made numerous promises to the international community to reform its anti-terrorist and treason courts to bring them in line with international covenants which Peru has signed. We urge your government to implement the reforms it has already pledged to make as soon as possible.

Lori should have a chance to tell her side of the story, to have her attorney cross examine witnesses and to present evidence that may substantiate her claims of innocence. We understand that the Peruvian Government is working to restore stability to a country that has been plagued by terrorism. If Lori is guilty of terrorism, she should be subject to a sentence that befits the crime. Until she has had an opportunity to present her defense in an open civilian court, however, her conviction will not stand up to public scrutiny. We therefore respectfully urge the Peruvian Government to give Lori a fair hearing.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this important matter.


Carolyn B. Maloney

Constance A. Morella

John W. Olver

Michael F. Doyle

Maurice D. Hinchey

James A. Traficant, Jr.

Lynn C. Woolsey

Martin T. Meehan

David Minge

Nydia M. Velazquez

Ronald V. Dellums

Michael Bilirakis

John Joseph Moakley

James A. Leach

Robert G. Torricelli

John Conyers, Jr.

Marcy Kaptur

John J. LaFalce

Nancy Pelosi

Edward J. Markey

Lucille Roybal-Allard

Jerrold Nadler

Melvin L. Watt

Victor O. Frazier

Representative S. Levin (D-MI) and Representative Joseph >Kennedy (D-MA) wrote their own letter to President Fujimori.