News from Lori's Parents

30 March 2001

In this update:

Lori continues testimony as evidence of due process violations mount

Yesterday Judge Marcos Ibazeta continued his questioning. He inquired about Lori's life in El Salvador and then asked her about her meeting with Panamanian Pacifico Castrellon and how and why she came to Peru. Lori stated that she worked as a secretary for the FMLN political party in El Salvador's emerging democracy in 1992 to 1994. She said she was interested in Peruvian culture and described Peru's rich heritage.

Lori's lawyer, Dr. Jose Luis Sandoval Quesada, made a strenuous objection to recent comments in the Peruvian media, indicating major violations by Peru's Anti-Terrorism Police (DINCOTE) in Lori's military tribunal five years ago. He argued that these violations are of such magnitude that the court should dismiss Lori's case.

Judge Ibazeta announced that hearings will be held next week on three days -- Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

Lori continues to stay strong and her spirits remain high.

Quotes from Lori

At the opening of Lori's public hearing on Tuesday, March 20, the Prosecutor read all the charges against Lori. Unlike US courts, however, the defense attorney does not get a chance to make an opening statement countering the prosecutor's remarks. Lori wanted the opportunity to "set the record straight." She asked Judge Ibazeta to address the court and said the following:

"Señor Judge, I would like to make a statement to the fact that I am innocent of all the charges against me. I would also like to attest that all the alleged evidence that has been presented as a basis for the allegations against me have been fabricated by the DINCOTE (Peru's Anti-Terrorism Police).

"I was under the impression that this would be a new trial and that this was a civilian court and that the previous proceedings (in the military courts) had been annulled. I want to make it known to the public that just because these allegations have been read, it does not mean that they are true. Also, it is common knowledge that my case has been utilized politically by the previous government of Mr. Fujimori. Since my detention he often noted my case and used it as a smoke screen for other political situations that happened during the month of August last year (i.e., an international arms scandal involving Fujimori's main advisor Vladimiro Montesinos).

"Also, I am being judged by the laws established by the previous government; laws that were instituted during a state of emergency. These anti-terrorism laws have been broadly criticized at the national and international levels because they do not guarantee respect for the human rights of the detained. For these reasons, I am bringing this to your attention.

"One more observation -- the fact that you are questioning me behind bars violates the principle of presumption of innocence. You are presenting me to the press as if I am guilty, thus violating my right to be presumed innocent.

"That is all. Thank you."

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson