News from Lori's Parents

18 November 2000

This is day 1,816 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in Perú.

In this update:

Perú's terrorism court grants prosecutor 20-day extension in Lori's case

According to unconfirmed reports, on November 17 the President of the Civilian Terrorism Court, Dr. Marcos Ibazeta, granted an extension of not more than 20 days so that the prosecutor is able to try to obtain more testimony in Lori's case. To date, Perú does not have sufficient evidence to warrant a conviction and the extension enables the prosecution to conduct a time-wasting "fishing expedition."

Over the past several weeks Lori has had very limited opportunity to meet with her Peruvian attorney, Dr. Jose Luis Sandoval Quesada, in clear violation of the American Convention on Human Rights. The "oral phase" of the "show trial" is expected to commence some time in December.

Perú stalls on Lori's O.A.S. petition and Ramsey Clark urges O.A.S. Commission to act on Lori now

On October 13, at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Lori's U.S. lawyers Ramsey Clark and Tom Nooter argued the lack of due process and double jeopardy in her present judicial proceedings. On October 19, the Commission gave the government of Perú 15 days to provide legal reasons why Lori remains in custody facing a civilian trial despite the nullification of the military judgment against her. This 15-day period has long expired. Perú has requested more time. On November 14, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark wrote to the Commission, requesting "that Perú be required to make its response immediately, without any further delay, and failing to do so, that the Commission order the release of Lori Berenson forthwith."

The full text of the letter appears here.

Fujimori government in political "quicksand" -- will it sink?

To the amazement of many, President Fujimori left Perú for the Pacific Rim APEC conference in Brunei on Tuesday. He also was scheduled to attend a Latin-American conference in Panama before returning to Perú. Yesterday he cancelled the Panama trip and this morning it was announced he was ill and staying in Japan -- some analysts speculate permanently. Incredulously, these and other events resulted in an editorial by the always pro-Fujimori newspaper Expreso raising the question "Who Is In Charge of Perú?" Not a day seems to pass in Perú without a government scandal or sensational event bringing discredit to the Fujimori government. This morning, a report from the Peruvian Ombudsman indicates that Perú's military and police caused more than 4,000 confirmed "disappearances" of civilians in its war against Shining Path and MRTA guerrillas and that more than 2,000 additional "disappearances" are still unconfirmed. Over 1,800 of the "disappearances" occurred in the first six years of Fujimori's presidency when, according to the Associated Press, "Peruvian security forces made a regular practice of kidnapping, torturing, and murdering peasants suspected of involvement."

For latest political happenings see "Perú News" on the home page of our website and the "In the News" dialogue box.

Since our November 9 update the following has occurred:

Questions: Can Fujimori survive politically the current chaos -- will the United States once again come to his aid? How will the military react to any move in Congress to oust Fujimori? Who will run the country if Fujimori is ousted? And what will happen to Lori -- Perú's principle political pawn?

Committee to Free Lori Berenson to participate in Columbus, GA. vigil to close down the School of the Americas

Many Peruvian officers involved in the disappearances, torture, and murder of Peruvian peasants received counterinsurgency training at the School of the Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, GA. This weekend, Ken Dubberly, Kristen Gardner, Deborah Hirsh, and Gail Taylor will represent the Committee to Free Lori Berenson at this year's SOA vigil. They will pass out fliers educating people about the effects of US army training on the deteriorating democracy in Perú, and the effects on the justice system and the Lori Berenson case, in particular. There will be a giant Lori puppet wearing a Free Lori T-shirt.

For more information, please visit the School of the Americas Watch website or read our "Update."

The US Army School of the Americas (SOA) is a combat training school for soldiers and officers from Latin America, located at Ft. Benning, GA. According to School of the Americas Watch, during its 54-year history, the SOA has readied over 60,000 Latin American troops in commando tactics, military intelligence, psychological operations, and advanced combat skills. SOA graduates have been responsible for massacres, torture, and assignations throughout Latin America.

In 1965, the SOA graduated the most infamous figure in Perú today, Vladimiro Montesinos. Ninety percent of the Peruvian population wants to see him tried for the corruption and human rights abuses in which he has been a central figure. Montesinos is currently in hiding, but the corrupt systems he helped to mastermind are still grinding forward, crushing democracy in Perú.

In addition to Mr. Montesinos, Peruvian Defense Minister Carlos Bergamino is an honor graduate of SOA and Walter Chacon, former Interior Minister and recently named as head of the army and chief of Perú's joint armed forces command, is also a graduate.

Website adds user-friendly features

Thanks to webmaster Ken Dubberly the website now offers useful materials as "PDFs." These files include letters, petitions, brochures,and flyers that can be downloaded and printed on your own computer. To view and use, just click the "Downloads" dialogue box on the home page.

In addition, we have revised the section "Perú's Views" to take into account the revisions and additions to the Peruvian government's website. We have also highlighted a section called "Frequency Asked Questions" in which we provide the answers to qustions about Lori's incarceration and present situation. A dialogue box called "Frequently Asked Questions," cross-referenced with "Perú's Views," is forthcoming.

Many thanks for your continued support.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson