News from Lori's Parents

2 March 2001

Day 1,920 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in Perú.

In this update:

Prosecutor charges Lori with collaboration, asks for 20 year sentence

Last week the Superior Court Prosecutor Walter Julian Vivas accepted the file submitted by Investigatory Prosecutor Maria Peralta and concluded that Lori was not a leader of MRTA and found no evidence she was either a member or militant of the MRTA. He did, however, charge her with collaboration and asked that the minimum 20-year sentence be imposed.

The charge seems more political than judicial. Lori's lawyer, Jose Luis Sandoval Quesada, assured us that there is no evidence to support this charge. He has continued to protest the violations in due process and double jeopardy that exist in her case. A date for the commencement of the public hearings in the Superior Court has been tentatively set for Thursday, March 8.

State Department Human Rights Report blasts Fujimori-Montesinos record

This week the State Department released its Annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices in Perú and blasted the former corrupt and dictatorial regime of Alberto Fujimori and his Siamese twin Vladimiro Montesinos. Fujimori, the disgraced and cowardly former president, remains in Japan while Montesinos is rumored to be hiding in any of a number of countries.

The Report does mention steps taken in the final month of the year by the transitional government of President Valentin Paniagua to implement important human rights reforms.

State Department Human Rights Report again says fair trial not possible

Nevertheless, the Report continues to say that trials for treason and aggravated terrorism in the military courts - and those for terrorism in civilian courts [such as Lori's] do not meet internationally accepted standards of openness, fairness, and due process.

Urgent reminder

Please contact President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and ask for their help. Sample letters to Mr. Bush and to General Powell can be downloaded, signed, and mailed or they can be used as talking points in forming your own letters or the text of petitions.

United States Senate letter urges Lori's release

On February 16, Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) sponsored a letter signed by 23 of his colleagues to Secretary of State Powell pointing to the many reasons why a fair trial for Lori in Perú is not a reality and urging he secure her release on humanitarian grounds.

We wish to thank Senator Leahy and his colleagues, Senators Daniel Akaka (HI), Joseph Biden (DE), Barbara Boxer (CA), John Breaux (LA), Hillary Clinton (NY), Sue Collins (ME), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Christopher Dodd (CT), Byron Dorgan (ND), Richard Durbin (IL), Tom Harkin (IA), Ernest Hollings (SC), James Jeffords (VT), Joe Lieberman (CT), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Patty Murray (WA), Jack Reed (RI), Paul Sarbanes (MD), Charles Schumer (NY), Gordon Smith (OR), Arlen Specter (PA), Robert Torricelli (NJ), and Paul Wellstone (MN).

A message to Perú's Human Rights community and government

Today, in Washington, a seminar sponsored by WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America) will be held. Several leaders of the Peruvian human rights community are participating.

In January of last year, the collective of 61 Peruvian human rights groups under the leadership of Sophia Macher, Coordinadora for Human Rights, distributed a platform of 44 points for establishing basic human rights and democracy in Perú. Among these are: the elimination of special courts such as the one trying Lori (Points 5 and 6); the liberation of all innocent prisoners and the retrial of those who suffered grave violations of due process (Point 8); the abolition of emergency anti-terrorism legislation and a reformation of the judicial system to insure due process and other guarantees of real justice, including sentences proportional to crimes committed (Point 10); the termination of the state of emergency (Point 12); the assurance of liberty of expression (Point 23); and a compliance with international pacts to which Perú is a signatory such as the American Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Point 39).

To date, little has been accomplished on these and some of the other important points in this platform and yet, incomprehensibly, the Peruvian human rights community has not objected to the continuation of such trials for Lori and others.

If democracy with real justice is to evolve in Perú, it is essential for the human rights community and the current government of Perú to put an immediate end to the cruel injustices of the disgraced and corrupt Fujimori-Montesinos government. Failure to do so will result in further injustice for Lori and numerous others.

Understanding Perú

Recent articles in The New York Times (Sunday Magazine) and in The New Yorker describe the demise of the Fujimori-Montesinos government and its aftermath. (See website). The Vladi-Videos indicate a net of corruption of judges, election officials, government officials, politicians, military officers, business leaders, and the media which give a clearer picture as to how power was perpetuated and how people like Lori were victimized for that purpose.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson