News from Lori's Parents

7 March 2001

Day 1,925 of Lori's wrongful incarceration in Perú.

In this update:

Perú firms up March 20 courtroom date for Lori???????????????????

In the past ten days we have been told of four different dates for the commencement of the public portion of Lori's trial. Yesterday it was officially announced that Judge Marcos Ibazeta will preside over the case that will begin on Tuesday morning, March 20, at 9 a.m. He will be one of three judges -- there is no jury.

The proceedings will be held in Lurigancho Prison in Lima. The government of Perú chose that facility for the public portion of the trial because the courtroom is larger than the one at Santa Monica Prison of Chorrillos where Lori is being held. The proceedings will be open to the press and Lori will be taken to and from this facility every day.

Dr. Ibazeta informed the Peruvian press that the proceedings could last four to six weeks. Only last week, Justice Minister Diego Garcia Sayan predicted the proceedings would last up to four months. On the other hand, Lori's lawyer Dr. Jose Luis Sandoval Quesada has said that Peruvian law requires the proceedings to be completed in 15 days! All we can do is be flexible. We will be in Perú to provide support for Lori for as long as it takes.

Fair trial is impossible

In its three months in office, the transition government of President Valentin Paniagua has taken many steps to put Perú back on a democratic track after ten years of corruption and the dismantling of democratic institutions by the Fujimori-Montesinos dictatorship.

We must remind President Paniagua that democracy is more than fair elections. There must be freedom of expression. There must be a respect for the rule of law. And, unlike the Fujimori-Montesinos dictatorship, a real democracy must have a separation and balance of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Normally, President Paniagua would be right to argue that there should not be executive interference in Lori's and other similar trials. On the other hand, President Paniagua must act courageously and correctly and he must not permit Lori and others to be tried under the self-serving Fujimori-Montesinos anti-terrorism laws. President Paniagua must stand for real democracy and tell the Peruvian people he will not perpetuate a justice system that has been universally condemned. He can do this by stopping Lori's and other similar trials, saying that Perú must clean up its judicial system and amend its laws. What use is it if good judges must enforce bad laws? There are already more than 20 violations of due process in Lori's case.

Violations of Due Process in the Present Proceedings against Lori

Just last week the U.S. State Department's human rights report on Perú reiterated that civilian trials for terrorism do not meet required international standards. In addition, Lori is a victim of the Fujimori-Montesinos regime's lies and deceits for their personal gain. The Peruvian public was exposed to nearly five years of propaganda against her by the Fujimori-Montesinos-controlled media. It is impossible to imagine that Lori could ever get a fair trial in Perú, given this negative public image and the universally condemned anti-terrorism laws.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson