Chronology of Events in Berenson Case
Associated Press -- 20 June 2001
Events leading up to Lori Berenson's civilian retrial for alleged involvement in the 1995 plot by the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA, to seize Peru's Congress. Berenson denies all charges.
November 1994: Berenson arrives in Peru with Pacifico Castrellon, a Panamanian who she says she met by chance in an art gallery in Panama City. Castrellon would claim their trip was arranged by the rebels and that on their way to Peru they met with MRTA leader Nestor Cerpa in Ecuador.
August 1995: Berenson moves out of the house she rented months earlier with Castrellon and into an apartment in another part of Lima. Berenson continues to visit the house, but later denies any knowledge that hidden on the top floor were more than a dozen guerrillas and a stockpile of some 8,000 rounds of ammunition and thousands of sticks of dynamite.
Nov. 30, 1995: Berenson is arrested on a bus with Cerpa's wife, Nancy Gilvonio, after they leave Peru's Congress. Berenson contends she hired Gilvonio, whose real identity she did not know, as a photographer for articles she planned to write about Peruvian women and poverty.
Dec. 1, 1995: An 11-hour siege on a MRTA safehouse by security forces ends. Three rebels and one police officer are dead and 14 guerrillas are captured. A coded floor plan of Congress allegedly sketched by Berenson and a forged Peruvian election ID card bearing her photo are among the evidence seized.
Jan. 8, 1996: Berenson is presented to Peru's media. She angrily shouts, ``If it is a crime to worry about the subhuman conditions in which the majority of this population lives, then I will accept my punishment. But this is not a love of violence. This is not to be a criminal terrorist because there are no criminal terrorists in the MRTA. It is a revolutionary movement.''
Jan. 11, 1996: A secret military court convicts Berenson of treason and sentences her to life in prison without parole. During the closed trial, the judges wear masks and her attorney is not allowed to cross-examine witnesses.
Dec. 17, 1996: Thirteen Tupac Amaru rebels, led by Cerpa, storm the Japanese ambassador's residence during a social event and 72 hostages are held for 126 days. Among the rebels' demands is the release of 20 imprisoned people, including Berenson. Cerpa and the rebels are killed during a military assault that rescues all but one of the hostages.
Aug. 28, 2000: After years of pressure from the United States, Peru's top military court announces it has overturned Berenson's sentence, paving the way for a new trial in civilian court.
March 20, 2001: Berenson's retrial on lesser charges of ``terrorist collaboration'' and ``illicit association'' begins following months of procedural delays.
June 20, 2001: Berenson declares her innocence in a closing statement to the court.