Getting in touch
Remind the Department of State that this is an important issue to U.S. citizens, and that they should be pushing for Lori's release.
Need a sample letter to get you started? Click here.
Send your letter to:
The Honorable Secretary of State
U.S. State Department
The Department of State works more directly than any other branch of the U.S. Government in Lori's case. One function of the Department of State is to aid U.S. citizens who are in prison abroad. During the first year of Lori's imprisonment, when family visits were not permitted, consular officers from the U.S. Embassy made monthly visits to the prison to see Lori and helped her parents send the necessary food, vitamins, medicines, clothing, and blankets that Peruvian prisons do not supply. After that first year, consular visits are limited to four or five times a year. The embassy maintains correspondence with Lori's parents to update them on her condition when problems arise.
A typical letter from the Department of State in response to an inquiry will make the following general comments about Lori's situation:
- "Ms. Berenson's situation is of great importance to the U.S. Government."
- "Ms. Berenson's welfare is of continuing importance to the Department of State."
- "The U.S. Government continues to urge the Peruvian Government to provide Ms. Berenson with the most humane conditions possible."
The Department of State does not offer Lori more assistance than they do for any other U.S. citizen incarcerated abroad. Their official policy does not vary from country to country or take into account special circumstances. It is unfortunate for Lori that this policy does not take into account official State Department human rights reports that do vary from country to country and are particularly critical of Perú.
The Committee to Free Lori Berenson wishes that the Department of State would demonstrate how important Lori's case is to the U.S. Government, and be more vocal in its support for Lori's freedom. Based on the statement in the 1999 Country Human Rights Report: "Proceedings in the military courts -- and those for terrorism in civilian courts -- do not meet internationally accepted standards of openness, fairness, and due process," it is apparent that Lori cannot receive a fair trial in Perú.
US State Department on Lori's Sentencing
11 January 1996
The State Department criticizes Lori's sentence of life in prison without parole.
State Department Reports on Perú
The State Department release annual reports on human rights conditions in Perú: