News from Lori's Parents

27 October 2000

This is day 1,794 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in Perú

In this update:

Visit to Lori

Rhoda was able to visit Lori for one hour on Saturday, October 21 and Mark visited for one hour on Sunday, October 22. We found her in good spirits. However, she was unhappy to learn that large portions of what she discussed with Peter Van Sant of "48 Hours" did not appear on the program. She had talked about her family, her values, and the influence of Judeo-Christian ethics and, in particular, Liberation Theology, on her thinking. This being her first interview ever, she had not been aware that her more than one hour of interview would be edited to such an extent and she had also not anticipated that Mr. Van Sant would "play prosecutor." (Note that Mr. Van Sant told the press the interview was only 40 minutes.)

The Peruvian newspapers on Saturday all had front page photos of Lori who had been taken by prison authorities to see the house in the La Molina district of Lima where, several hours after her arrest on November 30, 1995, members of the MRTA were involved in a shootout with the Peruvian military. The trip was requested by Lori's lawyer in order to demonstrate the large, sprawled nature of this three-story house, which has now been converted into a school. As we pointed out in last week's update, Lori had lived in the La Molina house before the MRTA rented the third floor. At the time of Lori's arrest she was living in an apartment across town in the district of San Borja. The purpose of Friday's trip was for Lori to demonstrate to the prosecutor and judge that it was quite plausible to visit with people on a lower floor and not be aware of who or what was on the third floor. Note that over a dozen members of the MRTA living on the third floor have testified that they had not met Lori until after they were all arrested and had never seen her in this house.

Perú in turmoil over Fujimori - Montesinos "power play"

On Monday morning, notorious "spy chief" Vladimiro Montesinos, former head of the intelligence service (SIN), made a surprise return to Perú, allegedly with President Fujimori's consent and assistance. Political analysts believe his return from Panama was twofold: he feared that Panama would not grant him political asylum and he also hoped that Perú would pass an amnesty law that would cover his misdeeds. As of today, he remains in hiding. There are several newspaper articles on our website detailing the attempts to locate him, and the political instability that has arisen because of his return.

We cannot measure the effect this event will have on Lori's "show trial." The current judge in her case, Romel Borda Perales, is provisional -- as are roughly 1,600 judges in Perú. These provisional judges are alleged to be under the control of Mr. Montesinos.

Rhoda's book

Two reviews have appeared. Writing for "Booklist," Vanessa Bush said, "Berenson's book is a harrowing account of the repressive politics of a nation that remains in the headlines today and is a story of hope, determination, and endurance in the face of global politics." The review in "Publishers Weekly" describes the account of the long struggle to overturn Lori's sentence as "dramatic and engrossing."

Upcoming event

Rhoda and Mark will be speaking at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation (Rte. 212 and Pine Lane, Saugerties, NY) on Sunday November 5 at 7:30 p.m.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson