News from Lori's Parents
5 April 2001In this update:
- Lori stands strong during intensive interrogations
- Please act now to secure Lori's release
- Conflict of interest
- Special Prosecutor urges use of "Free Lori" website as "evidence"
Lori stands strong during intensive interrogations
Lori was grilled for 2.5 hours on Tuesday and for over 2 hours on Wednesday by Chief Judge Marcos Ibazeta. The interrogation will continue on Thursday of this week, and into next week.
Lori recounted her time in Peru in 1995. She noted that she knew some members of the MRTA, although she did not know their real names or that they were members of the group until after her arrest. When Lori sought to write articles about poverty in Peru for US magazines, one member of the MRTA recommended a Bolivian photographer, Rosa Mita Calle, who subsequently was revealed to be Nancy Gilvonio, wife of MRTA leader Nestor Cerpa Cartolini.
Judge Ibazeta questioned Lori as if he were a prosecutor rather than a neutral judge. He often stated what sounded like conclusions, although judges cannot "conclude" until the entire trial is finished. He opined that Lori had to have known who these people were and what they were doing, although he had no evidence to prove any wrong doing.
Judge Ibazeta required Lori to provide a spontaneous handwriting sample in order to compare it to editing notes on an MRTA document and on a Congressional seating plan. Police experts claim that the handwriting on these documents is "similar" to Lori's. Independent experts will be presenting their conclusions in future sessions. Lori denies any knowledge of these documents and also has accused the notorious DINCOTE anti-terrorism police of adding written materials into her notebooks that they seized after her arrest.
Lori also tried to recount the details of her arrest. She wanted to explain how DINCOTE endangered her life by bringing her and keeping her all night at the site of the police shoot-out with the MRTA. Judge Ibazeta continually cut her off when she brought this event up. She also explained clearly how DINCOTE threatened to torture the young children of another detainee. Judge Ibazeta tried to say that Lori was "treated royally" at DINCOTE and Lori continued to point out the reality.
Please act now to secure Lori's release
We must make sure that the U.S. Government understands how unfair the trial proceedings are. Remember that we were asking people to call the White House hotline on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, and remind the President that Lori continues to give testimony on these days, despite the fact that she is being arbitrarily held and she should be released. If you do not want to call, you can also print letters directly from the web site and send it in, if you have not done so already:
Call: 202-456-1111; press 0 and ask for hotline operator
- Lori Berenson has been wrongfully held a prisoner in Peru for over 5 years. She continues to state that she is innocent.
- She is currently giving testimony before a panel of three judges in a "trial" that does not meet international standards of openness, fairness, and due process (according to the U.S. State Department) and there are already at least 20 violations of due process in this current trial.
- The U.S. Government is still obligated to defend its own citizen, and I call upon the President of the United States to do his duty under 22 USC Section 1732, and secure Lori's release- now!
Conflict of interest
Judge Ibazeta is one of five candidates for the position of "Ombudsman," the official liaison between the government and the people, a highly respected position in Peru. Election by the Peruvian Congress is expected on April 19. We are very concerned that this could present a conflict of interest since members of the Peruvian Congress have already voiced strong negative opinions about Lori.
Special Prosecutor urges use of "Free Lori" website as "evidence"
In another bizarre twist, Special Prosecutor Mario Cavagnaro Basile has asked that the "Free Lori" website be translated into Spanish and introduced as "evidence," although we have no idea of what this could be "evidence" for. We will continue to post the news reports of Lori's trial almost daily, so check the web site for this information.