News from Lori's Parents

4 April 2000

This is day 1,588 of wrongful incarceration.

"To be silent in the face of injustice is to be an accomplice to evil. I will not be silent." Lori Berenson, January 2000

In this update:

International human rights monitors express great concern over Peruvian election process

With elections now less than one week away, international observers from the Organization of American States, the Carter Center for Human Rights, the European Parliament, and other human rights groups have already concluded that the entire process leading up to the ballot counting is flawed. There are 11 candidates for the presidency. President Alberto Fujimori still leads in the polls but will need 50% of the vote on 9 April to be reelected without a runoff. However, the surging support for U.S. educated Alejandro Toledo has put in doubt that this majority can be achieved next week.

Senate Joint Resolution 43 warns Perú

Senator Paul Coverdell (R-GA) recently offered Senate Joint Resolution 43, expressing the sense of Congress that the President of the United States should encourage free and fair elections and respect for democracy in Perú and that the President should provide a warning to that government that it is running the risk of facing severe economic and political sanctions. The resolution was cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jesse Helms (R-NC), Mike DeWine (R-OH), and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI).

Speaking on behalf of this resolution, Senator Patrick Leahy expressed his concerns for the mistreatment of Lori Berenson (Congressional Record--Senate, March 28, 2000, page S1826). He said: "I would hope that a country that professes to respect human rights would recognize the obvious - that Ms. Berenson's conviction was a miscarriage of justice."

The full details on Senate Joint Resolution 43, including the statements of Senators Coverdell and Leahy, will be available at the FREELORI website at the U.S. Government Actions dialogue box.

Urgent call to action: Congressional campaign

This is the last chance for Congress to pressure President Clinton to fulfill his obligation to Lori. "Dear Colleague Letters" to President Clinton are now circulating in both the House and the Senate urging him to secure Lori's release. We need your help to get your Senators and your Representative to sign on to these letters.

The House letter is cosponsored by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Jim Leach (R-IA), Connie Morella (R-MD), and Maxine Waters (D-CA). The Senate letter is cosponsored by New York Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Charles Schumer along with Senators Christopher J. Dodd (D-CT) and Jim Jeffords (R-VT).

Please write to your Senators and your Congressional Representative. Use the sample letters on the website or write your own.

Please call (or follow up your letters with phone calls to) your Senators and your Representative in Washington at 202-225-3121 to urge them to sign on to the circulating "Dear Colleague Letter." After reaching the appropriate office, ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant for Foreign Relations. Indicate that you are a constituent and that you would urge your elected official to sign the "Dear Colleague Letter" to President Clinton to secure the release of Lori Berenson. When speaking with a Senate office, mention the "Dear Colleague Letter" from Senator Moynihan. When speaking with a House office, mention the "Dear Colleague Letter" from Representative Maloney.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson