News from Lori's Parents

19 June 2001

Will Human Rights activist and free-lance journalist Lori Berenson receive a second unjust sentence?

Remember what Lori said in January, 2000: "To be silent is to be an accomplice to evil." Please don't be silent.

We must support Lori and the thousands of Peruvian citizens who have been subjected to this unfair system.

In this update:

Lori has not received a fair trial, and no evidence has been presented to prove her guilt

If Lori receives a sentence tomorrow afternoon (June 20), it will not be for any crime she has committed, and definitely not due to any evidence that the prosecution has presented. Lori needs our help and support now more than ever. Lori Berenson is being tried for her beliefs, she is a true political prisoner, and she will again declare her innocence tomorrow. Let's continue to support her!

Please join us for the following demonstrations

Wednesday June 20
4:30 PM
Federal Building, Hartford CT

Supporters of human rights in Perú and freedom for all Peruvian political prisoners are urged to assemble at 4:30 PM at the Federal Court House, 450 Main Street in Hartford CT Wed. June 20.

Thurs/ jueves June 21
12 PM/ mediodia
Justice Palace/ Palacio de Justicia

Manifestación en frente del Palacio de Justicia: libertad por Lori Berenson. Justicia en el Perú. Apoyamos la Comisión de la Verdad. preguntas?
Demonstration in front of the Palacio de Justicia: freedom for Lori Berenson. Justice for Perú. Support the Truth Commission. questions?

Mon. June 25
5:30 - 7 PM
Peruvian Consulate, 241 E 49th St
New York City

Speakers, music, rally-- welcome Mark and Rhoda Berenson back to the United States after 3 months in Perú; call for Lori Berenson's freedom.

Thurs. June 28
5:30 PM
Peruvian Embassy, 1700 Mass Ave NW
Washington, DC

Speakers, music, rally, puppets-- Mark and Rhoda Berenson come to Washington to lobby US Congress to support Lori's release, ask Peruvian government to release Lori.

Upcoming media appearances for Mark and Rhoda/ Lori

Today Mark and Rhoda are interviewing with various wire services from all over the world, ABC, NBC, CNN, Washington Post, New York Times, etc. The only times I know for sure are 7:10 am Wed on NBC Today Show, and 7:20 am Wed on ABC Good Morning America. Mark and Rhoda will also appear close to the top of the hour (7 am) on Thursday morning, ABC Good Morning America. If your local press covers the story, please send clippings to the National Office (address below). Also, write letters to the editor to encourage readers to go to the web site and get involved. If your local press is not covering the issue-- why not?? Call and ask them to run a story.

There are a string of television shows/ networks that want to have an interview with Lori and we hope that the Peruvian government will allow her to tell her side of the story, because the Justice Minister has refused to let Lori be allowed by the international television media since the first and only interview- CBS' 48 Hours- aired in October. Lori's only other television appearance has been with a Peruvian show called Panorama. If the censorship of Lori's words is lifted, we'll let you know.

How will we respond to a guilty verdict?

If Lori is found guilty, we must respond with a resounding protest. We must:

  1. request that the president of the United Statesact, as is his obligation under 22 USC Section 1732, by securing Lori's release ph 202-456-1111
  2. ask that the Peruvian government release Lori immediately! Embassy of Perú, 1700 Mass Avenue, NW, WDC 20036 (202-833-9860, President of Perú, Palacio de Palacio de Gobierno, Plaza de Armes S/N, Lima 1 Perú
  3. Request that Members of Congress support Lori's release; 202-224-3121, 202-225-3121
  4. Ask that the Secretary of State and the US Ambassador in Lima support Lori and make statements that she has not had a fair trial, work to secure her release:
    • US Dept of State, 2201 C Street NW, WDC, 20520 (fax 202-647-2283)
    • US Embassy in Lima, Avenida la Encalada cdra. 17 s/n Surco Lima 33 Perú

Talking Points:

Lori Berenson has been wrongfully imprisoned in Perú for more than 5 1/2 years. She has repeatedly maintained her innocence. She has now been subjected to a second unfair trial. It is unfair for the following reasons: Due Process Violations: insufficient time to hire and meet with lawyer, inadequate time and means to prepare defense (violation of American Convention) Judicial Bias: Judges showed bias in the press before the trial began (2 years before, in one case!) and during. Judges made conclusions of guilt before all evidence was heard.

Use of Tainted Evidence: The prosecution relied mostly on testimony from over 5 years ago from witnesses who were tortured, coerced, and/or bribed to implicate Lori. During the current, much more open proceedings, all witnesses supported Lori s claims that she is innocent of the charges.

The trial was OPEN BUT NOT FAIR: These proceedings were open to the point of resembling a circus or show trial, but not fair.

Lori Berenson and others accused in Perú are GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY: Contrary to Peruvian and international law, Lori was not presumed innocent, but was considered guilty before the trial began. Judges said that she could try to prove her innocence to them and to the public, and then proceeded to make conclusions that she was guilty before hearing all of the evidence or arguments.

Lori Berenson should be released now.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson