News from Lori's Parents

7 September 2000

This is day 1,744 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in Peru.

In this update:

Lori's "Show Trial" proceeding unfairly and the world is watching

Based on newly obtained information, on Monday August 28 the Supreme Military Council overturned Lori's conviction of treason and aggravated terrorism and nullified her life sentence, finally conceding what Lori has said all along -- that she is not guilty of the preposterous charges levied against her. This was a major admission by the government of Peru, undermining all its claims against Lori. Instead of releasing her, however, the government of Peru remanded Lori's case to the civilian courts for a "show trial." The US State Department has reported that these civilian courts do not meet international standards of openness, fairness, and due process.

The so-called "trial" of Lori officially began Thursday August 31 when a judge visited Lori upon her arrival at Chorrillos Prison in Lima and tried to take testimony immediately. Lori refused, saying she will not speak to a judge before she has the opportunity to speak to State Department officials, parents, and US legal advisers to learn about the civil court process.

The pre-trial activities are proceeding in ways that will only hurt Peru and further isolate that country in the community of nations for its continued violations of fundamental human rights. There was no due process in Lori's military tribunal five years ago and to date there is no evidence there will be due process now. Lori continues to be demonized by Peruvian government officials, Peruvian jurists, and by the Peruvian media. In addition, the pre-trial procedures have begun without Lori having any opportunity to prepare a defense. Already, Peru has committed several violations to Article 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights.

  1. Lori has not yet been notified of the charges against her.
  2. Lori has not yet been able to select a lawyer.
  3. Lori is permitted to have a lawyer hear testimony taken from witnesses but this testimony is currently being taken before she has hired a lawyer.

On Tuesday September 5 Lori filed a petition with the court, asking that all proceedings against her be held in abeyance until her fundamental rights are protected. In the presence of former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Rhoda, and U.S. State Department Consular Officer Mary Grandfield, the judge agreed to give Lori one week to hire a lawyer and prepare a defense. On Wednesday September 6 he "changed his mind" and told Lori he would start taking testimony from her on Friday September 8 and if she did not have a lawyer he would assign a public defender. Given these violations of due process, Lori plans to remain silent in accordance with Article 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights.

Lori's "Voice" heard throughout the world

Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist and host of Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now," played portions of a taped interview with Lori on Wednesday September 6. The interview with Lori occurred in the yard at Socabaya Prison in March 1999. Amy Goodman participated in a human rights delegation from the Los Angeles-based Office of the Americas that was given permission to see Lori. The interview was never aired before and this is the first time Lori's voice had been heard in public since her sentencing in January 1996.

Mark and Reverend Jesse Jackson join Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney at New York City press conference

On Tuesday September 5 Reverend Jesse Jackson and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney called for the release of Lori Berenson in a press conference held at the Peruvian Consulate in New York City.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, Amy Goodman and Mark appear on "Rivera Live"

On Wednesday September 6 known TV newsperson Geraldo Rivera hosted Reverend Jesse Jackson, journalist Amy Goodman, and Mark for a 15-minute segment on CNBC's "Rivera Live." Portions of the Amy Goodman interview with Lori were played and discussed and Rev. Jesse Jackson called for Lori's release and stated he wanted to go to Peru and bring her home. Mr. Rivera, a future candidate for mayor in New York City, also urged Lori's release.

Upcoming events: Worcester, MA vigil

On Friday September 8 Clark University's human rights group "Peace Works" will be sponsoring a vigil for Lori between 7 and 9 p.m. at 950 Main Street in Worcester, MA. The vigil is open to the public. Petitions and letters will be on hand for signing. For more information please check the home page of the website.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson