PETITION BY LORI BERENSON TO ABATE ALL CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST HER INCLUDING THE INTERROGATION SCHEDULED FOR 10 AM, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2000 UNTIL, INTER ALIA, SHE HAS HAD ADEQUATE TIME AND MEANS FOR THE PREPARATION OF HER DEFENSE AS REQUIRED BY THE AMERICAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS.
To the Honorable Juez Romel Borda Perales:
I, Lori Berenson, respectfully file this petition prepared for me at my request asking that all criminal proceedings against me be held in abeyance until the fundamental rights specified herein are fully protected. I apologize for the informality of my petition, but I do not know the charges against me, or even the official name of the Court, and I have obtained the name of the Judge and its spelling from the media.
The American Convention on Human Rights, Article 8, Section 2 provides, in part:
2. Every person accused of a criminal offense has the right to be presumed innocent so long
as his guilt has not been proven according to law. During the proceedings, every person is entitled,
with full equality, to the following minimum guarantees:
b. prior notification in detail to the accused of the charges against him;
c. adequate time and means for the preparation of his defense;
d. the right of the accused to defend himself personally or to be assisted by legal counsel of his own choosing, and to communicate freely and privately with his counsel;
f. the right of the defense to examine witnesses present in the court and to obtain the appearance, as witnesses, or experts or other persons who may throw light on the facts,
g. the right not to be compelled to be a witness against himself or to plead guilty.
I received notice that my conviction and sentence to life imprisonment had been nullified by El Consejo Supremo de Justicia Militar on August 28, 2000. I was moved from the prison at Socabaya near Arequipa to the Maximum Security Women's Prison in Chorrillos on August 31, 2000. I have not been represented by a Peruvian lawyer since my final petition was denied in the military judicial system in 1997 and have not had the opportunity to interview a single lawyer authorized to practice in the Courts of Peru since my conviction and sentencing of January 1996 was declared null just eight days ago. I intend to be assisted by legal counsel of my own choice in any new proceedings and need time to find counsel. I will refuse to accept counsel provided by the state and will defend myself personally until I find private counsel of my choice.
I have not had any notification in detail, or otherwise, of the charges against me which must include all the facts that are alleged to prove a criminal act, and was never given any notification of the charges against me in the military courts, a failure for which the appellate court criticized the prosecutor.
I have been given no time, or means for the preparation of my defense, and cannot begin to prepare my defense until I am notified of the charges against me and have counsel of my choice.
I will insist on the right to examine witnesses in Court and to obtain witnesses who will throw light on the facts but the witnesses must not be called before my rights to counsel of choice and adequate time for the preparation of my defense are fulfilled.
I will insist on my right not to be a witness against myself and will respectfully absolutely refuse to answer any questions from the prosecutor, or the court, or in their behalf, until I have secured counsel of my choice and been afforded adequate time and means to prepare my defense.
In addition, lawyers acting in my behalf in the United States have filed a request with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for a hearing in October 2000 on my petitions against the Government of Peru filed on 22 January 1998 which was declared admissible in Report 56/98 dated 8 December 1998. Months of delay were caused by the Government of Peru's request for adequate time for the preparation of its defense and the proceedings have been further delayed since December 1998 by the Government of Peru's refusal to participate in proceedings before the American Human Rights Court system. My request for a hearing alleges that further proceedings against me in the Civilian Courts of Peru are a continuum of the violation already perpetrated and are in violation of fundamental rights protected by the American Convention on Human Rights, as set forth in the attached copy of my request to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights dated September 1, 2000 which is incorporated herein for all purposes.
In summary, it is respectfully requested that all Criminal Proceedings against me be stopped pending fulfillment of rights guaranteed by the American Convention on Human Rights and until due consideration is given by this Court to the issues raised by my request for a hearing by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Lori Berenson, pro se
September 5, 2000