News from Lori's Parents

29 July 2001

In this update:

Representative Ben Gilman speaks up for Lori in Congress

On Tuesday, July 24, Representative Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY), former Chair of the House International Relations Committee, raised Lori's case during debate on foreign appropriations. He said that he is troubled by Lori's long incarceration and that the Congress should take into consideration Lori's case when discussing and debating Peru.

We are grateful to Congressman Gilman for his continued support.

Lori's new interview on 'Democracy Now' to be aired this week

Journalist Amy Goodman, host of Pacifica Radio's 'Democracy Now', is intending to broadcast Lori's responses to recent questions that she forwarded. The intent is to air the interview in segments on three different days this week we do not know which days. The program is heard on WBAI in New York City weekdays at 9 a.m. and is broadcast to over 35 cities at different times. Check your local listings.

Index on Censorship publishes Lori's article

Lori's article, No Singing, No Laughing, No Sound, was published in the Index on Censorship (Volume 30, Number 3, July 2001), pages 212 through 217. This quarterly journal is published in London and the particular issue was the 200th in its history.

Lori was asked by the editor to write an article about women in Peruvian prisons for this issue. Through her own voice and those of other incarcerated women, she writes of the conditions in which thousands of detainees convicted under Peru's anti-terrorist laws have been held.

General Assembly of Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) call for Lori's release

On July 17, the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the U.S. and Canada passed a resolution at its meeting in Kansas City calling for Lori's release. Over 3,000 people expressed their support at this meeting and the General Synod of the United Church of Christ was in the same hall and applauded the action.

Our thanks go out to Mr. Robert Friedly, representing the Eastgate Christian Church -- Indianapolis, for introducing this resolution and to the Rev. Dr. William J. Nottingham for speaking in favor of its adoption. Rev. Dr. Nottingham has made two trips to Peru to visit with Lori and was with us during the last week of the public trial and on the day of her sentencing.

Alejandro Toledo new Peruvian President

On Saturday July 28, Dr. Alejandro Toledo was sworn in as President of the Republic of Peru for a five-year term. He has promised to combat the poverty that affects half the population and he has promised to combat racism. President Toledo, a cholo (a person of mixed European and Indigenous race who moved from the rural areas to the city), was born in abject poverty with half of his 16 siblings dying at birth or at an early age and went on to earn a doctorate at Stanford, teach at Harvard, and then become President of Peru. His is truly one of the great success stories of this generation. We congratulate him and all Peruvians on their Independence Day. We wish him and all Peru well. You may recall that President Toledo was very gracious to meet with us last month in Lima to discuss Lori's case and sentencing. And we hope that he will recognize the complete injustice suffered by Lori these nearly six years and will offer her a pardon as part of a process to bring healing and reconciliation to his country.

Valentin Paniagua retires

Ex-President Valentin Paniagua left office yesterday a true hero in Peru and well-deserving of the accolades.

An unassuming individual who opposed ex-President Fujimori in Congress, he stepped in as interim president in late November 2000, following the fall of the disgraced Fujimori government, formed a multi-partisan cabinet of respected individuals, and in eight months changed the face of Peru from authoritarian dictatorship to a government respectful of democratic principles. His accomplishments and that of his administration were many - most notably, insuring that absolutely clean and fair elections were held, opening the country to a sense of freedom heretofore not experienced, and combating the widespread net of corruption of his predecessors, ex-President Fujimori and his notorious advisor, Vladimiros Montesinos. In this short time, hundreds of persons have been arrested in the corruption purge - members of Congress, the Peruvian cabinet, the heads of the military, judges, prosecutors, bankers, businessmen, and media owners. Montesinos is now in a Peruvian jail awaiting trial and Fujimori is living with impunity in Japan. Although he purged the judicial system of some of the corruption and established it as an independent body no longer directly controlled by the executive branch, and improved prison conditions, in his brief stay he had no intention of changing the illegal and universally condemned anti-terrorism laws that were established by Fujimori and Montesinos and under which Lori was tried. Mr. Paniagua did not respond to members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, Rev. Jesse Jackson and other religious leaders, editorials from major U.S. publications, or letters from U.S. citizens on Lori's behalf. He promised that Lori would have a 'fair and transparent trial with full due process.' But that was impossible in Peru without changing the laws.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson