News from Lori's Parents

02 February 2000

Day 1,526 of wrongful incarceration

In this update:

Massachusetts high school organizes "Fast to Free Lori"

Abby Russell, vice president of the Amnesty International chapter at Norwell High School in Norwell, Massachusetts reports that over 40 students, staff, and faculty will begin a 24-hour fast on Thursday, February 3rd at 5 p.m. in support of Lori's release. Participants will wear tee-shirts that have Lori's picture and which say "Fasting for Lori Berenson." The participants have made a large "Free Lori" banner on which they hope to collect over 500 signatures. They intend to send the signed banner to President Clinton.

Rhoda returns to Perú

Anxious to see how Lori has withstood her two-week hunger protest that was done in an already impaired physical state, Rhoda will be visiting Lori on Saturday. The last report given to us by U.S. Embassy officials a week ago, following the termination of the protest, said that Peruvian doctors had reported Lori was weakened but in good condition. The last family visit was on January 9th. Under Peruvian law visits are suspended during hunger strikes. In a letter just received, Lori has requested bagels, farmer cheese, and a variety of vitamins.

Perú uses two U.S. lobbying firms to promote its tarnished image

"Only in America," a phrase often used by boxing promoter Don King, takes on new connotations in Lori's situation. Two U.S. lobbying firms, Patton Boggs and SSK (Shepardson - Stern - Kaminsky), have been hired by the government of Perú to promote its tarnished image in the U.S. and to persuade Congress to continue giving it the huge sums of financial aid that last year was among the highest in the Western Hemisphere on a per-capita basis. Part of this "promotion of Perú" by the two U.S. firms is, of course, at the expense of fellow U.S. citizen Lori Berenson.

Lori's lawyers resubmit request for full hearing before commission

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States is preparing for its spring meetings in Washington. Over a year ago, that body ruled that Lori's petition against the government of Perú was admissible for full hearing. Unfortunately, the government of Perú unnecessarily stalled on our first attempt to hold the hearing last spring and then the government of Perú illegally withdrew from the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Human Rights Court of the Organization of American States, thwarting our second attempt to hold the hearing last fall. Lori's lawyers once again have resubmitted the request for full hearings. We don't know whether the Commission will act to hold a full hearing without the Peruvian government's presence, or whether the Peruvian government will decide to participate if such a hearing is put on the docket, but we will continue to press to have a hearing in this international forum. In the interim she remains wrongfully incarcerated.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson