News from Lori's Parents

28 September 2000

This is day 1,765 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in Perú

In this update:

New York Times Editorial: Free Lori Berenson!

On Friday, September 22, The New York Times editorial titled "Free Lori Berenson" argued that the Fujimori government has used and abused Lori as a political pawn for far too long and that "rather than extending the charade, Mr. Fujimori should let her go." The full text of the editorial appears on the website.

New York City Council unanimously passes resolution calling for Lori's immediate release

On Wednesday, September 27, The Council of the City of New York unanimously passed a resolution proposed by Councilman Herb Berman "calling upon the Peruvian government to immediately release Lori Berenson from captivity and allow her to return to the United States and, in the event that such a request is ignored or denied, calling upon the appropriate Committee of the City Council to convene and discuss potential legislative remedies."

Following an introduction by Speaker Peter F. Vallone, Councilman Berman introduced the resolution. Both made it clear that the city of New York City has used fiscal measures to pressure South Africa to end apartheid and in support of human rights issues in Ireland and the Mideast. Legislative remedies include refusing to do business with companies that do business with Perú, or divesting the multimillion-dollar pension funds of such companies.

Thanks go to supporter Marty R. for his efforts in bringing this to the attention of the Council of New York City and for working with Council members Margarita Lopez and Ronnie Eldridge to help gain support for the resolution. The full text of the resolution appears on the website and serves as a model for other municipalities around the United States to take similar actions on behalf of Lori.

Montesinos "flees" to Panama asking for asylum

Asylum is typically granted for those who are persecuted not prosecuted. But Vladimiro Montesinos, considered one of the richest men in South America, was allowed to flee to Panama Saturday night. He was never detained nor arrested following the September 14 airing of a videotape proving his guilt in a government bribery scandal, and has been associated with torture, "disappearance," and murder, among other acts. It is indeed ironic that Lori has been detained awaiting a farce of a "show trial" where there is no evidence of her guilt, hundreds of innocent Peruvians languish in prison, but Montesinos, caught "red-handed" on tape, was permitted to leave Perú with impunity.

Urgent Action - Call Clinton Now!

This is the time for President Clinton to free Lori! This is the time for him to do his job and pick up the phone and speak to Fujimori. Call President Clinton at 202-456-1111, ask for the "hotline" operator, and urge that President Clinton rescue Lori now.

Lori visited by Mark on Sunday and by Rabbis Greenwald and Meister on Monday

On Sunday, September 24, Mark visited Lori in Chorrillos Prison in Lima. They met for one hour in the dark locotorio behind double mesh screens with no bodily contact. The prison did not permit apples (for fear Lori might use them to make some alcoholic beverage) and did not permit strawberries (perhaps because they were the color red?). Such harassment varies from prison to prison and often is at the whim of a particular prison director. Prison officials also conveniently "lost" letters that had already been approved by the censors and were to be given to Mark to take back to the U.S.

Rabbis Ronnie Greenwald of New York and Todd Meister of Maryland had a private, "up close" visit with Lori on Monday, September 25. The visit was arranged by Congressman Ben Gilman of New York, Chair of the House International Relations Committee. Rabbi Meister is also a practicing anesthesiologist. He has corresponded with Lori for nearly three years and helped researched her medical problems from afar. Rabbi Greenwald has now visited Lori four times - he had previously visited her in Yanamayo and Socabaya Prisons. The rabbis found Lori to be in very good spirits during their one hour meeting and they expressed she was very glad to see them. Rabbi Guillermo Bronstein from Lima hopes to get approval to visit Lori soon. She is also visited weekly by Father Luis, a Catholic priest from Lima.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson