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.
1. The new proceeding violates the double jeopardy principle of international and Peruvian law, since Lori is being retried on the same facts as those already reviewed and found to be insufficient to sustain a conviction in the military court. By redefining the crime as "collaboration" and trying her for the commission of the same acts as were used in a proceeding where the court, after reviewing new evidence presented to it, found that there was insufficient proof of her guilt of the crime of "treason" the government is subjecting Lori to a new prosecution of the same events. The prior proceeding was nullified on the merits of the case, and not for procedural defects in the process. Therefore, the ultimate ruling of the Military Supreme Court is an exoneration of Lori, and she cannot be tried again for the same activity by redefining the crime or placing her in a different court system.
Violations of due process in the military courts which affect the proceedings in the civilian court:
2. Statements were taken from Lori and other accused "witnesses" which are being used in the civilian court for confrontation and contradiction of Lori and these other witnesses; these statements were taken in violation of several due process rights, including the right to private consultation with an attorney before being subjected to official interrogation in the Instructive Court proceeding.
3. Similarly, these statements were taken without the accused being informed of the charges against them, even though this violates Peru's criminal procedure as well as international norms of due process.
4. Statements were taken from persons who were mistreated, denied medical treatment, terrorized by the police and the military, and housed in inhuman conditions (for example, the female defendant Nancy Gilvonio was housed in a male prison for years).
5. Statements were taken in "court proceedings" presided over by military officers rather than constitutionally approved and selected judges.
6. Statements were taken in "court proceedings" by "judges" wearing hoods, designed to terrify the witnesses.
7. Statements were taken from witnesses after the witnesses were made false promises of leniency if they cooperated with the police by providing the statement the police needed to inculpate other defendants.
8. Statements were taken, and other information gathered and used against defendants including Lori, after the time periods prescribed by Peruvian law (two fifteen-day periods, for a total of 30 days maximum).
9. Statements were taken from defendants who hired lawyers but whose lawyers were harassed, intimidated and treated with hostility and a lack of professional respect, which prevented the attorneys from asserting the rights entitled to the defendants.
10. Statements were taken from defendants whose rights to habeas corpus and review of convictions by the national Constitutional Supreme Court was denied, affecting these person's perceptions that they would obtain justice if they invoked their constitutional due process rights.
The manner in which the present proceeding is being conducted also violates due process principles because it is being conducted using the laws formulated under the Fujimori administration. Examples of these are:
11. The interviews of most of the prosecution witnesses whose testimony will be used at trial in the form of the transcripts made of the pre-trial interviews have taken place in secret, in violation of the right to a public trial.
12. These interviews have taken place in violation of the rights of many of these witnesses, who are also defendants in their own cases, to an attorney.
13. These interviews have taken place outside of the presence of Lori herself, even though her attorney has been present, which violates the principle of confrontation with one's accuser (since these witnesses will not be recalled at the oral trial where Lori is present) and violates the right to effective assistance of counsel since, in this case, Lori is not available to assist her counsel in cross-examination of these witnesses based on knowledge Lori may have but her lawyer would not know.
14. Several of the interviews occurred while the public "Procurador" was present, and with his participation, even though this violated Peruvian procedure and was objected to by the defense, which objection was belatedly joined in by the prosecutor's office. This "procurador" used information he had improperly obtained from the military proceeding to interrogate and confront witnesses whose statements were favorable to Lori.
15. The Procurador was given advance knowledge of the prosecutor's charges and other information which gave him an unfair and impermissible advantage over the defense.
16. Many of the prisoners called as witnesses against Lori continue to be maltreated and terrorized by authorities, which results in their fear of telling the truth about Lori's innocence.
17. Lori is being accused of a crime for which the punishment is unusually harsh, which is a violation of the principle against cruel and unusual punishments. The O.A.S. as well as Peruvian commentators have called the punishments "disproportionate" to the crime.
18. Lori is being tried for "crimes" which violate due process because of their vagueness. Even innocent activity comes in under the definition of "collaboration" because the crime punishes contact or association with "terrorists" rather than punishing actions which are knowingly committed with a criminal intent. The result is that actions which inadvertently assist a "terrorist" or a "terrorist group" are punishable, even if there was no criminal intent.
19. Lori is being tried for "crimes" which violate the constitutional right of freedom of speech in that the law prohibits, for example, storing "propaganda" among other things, and prohibits the formation of any kind of discussion group which might engage in "indoctrination" of subversive ideas.
20. Lori is being tried for "crimes" which violate the principle of freedom of association by making it illegal to give a ride, for example, to a "terrorist" or member of a "terrorist group" or providing financial or any otherwise legal assistance to persons whom the government considers to be terrorists or subversives.
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.