News from Lori's Parents

27 May 2001

In this update:

Closing arguments postponed as hearings drag on

Closing arguments were postponed on Thursday as the court surprisingly decided to hear more irrelevant "testimony" and documentation.

The stall tactic taken by Chief Judge Ibazeta is clearly designed to await the decision from the higher court on the motion to force him to withdraw from the case for reasons of prejudice and to avoid the sentencing of Lori until that decision is made. Sadly, we doubt that the present judicial system in Perú and the current government have the courage to do the correct thing and force Dr. Ibazeta to stand down.

The next session will be held on Tuesday May 29 and it is expected that more irrelevant "testimony" and documents will be read. Closing arguments will not likely be held until this Thursday and the sentencing now will surely occur after the Peruvian Presidential elections are held on Sunday June 3.

Purging judicial officials for incompetence and corruption

A major reason for the delay in the higher court decision on the motion to force Chief Ibazeta from the case was that recenty a large number of judges and prosecutors throughout Perú were fired for lack of competence and/or for links into the net of corruption with former presidential advisor Vladimiro Montesinos. This affected the structure of the higher court where a number of judges had to be replaced and Lori's motion reevaluated.

Interestingly, it was reported that the Court Prosecutor who initiated the current absurd set of charges against Lori, Dr. Walter Julian Vivas, was among those fired. The reason for the dismissal -- incompetence and/or corruption -- was not given. You may recall that in January, after more than four months of investigation and testimony, the Investigatory Prosecutor, Dr. Maria Peralta, submitted a report to the court urging that Lori be charged with passive collaboration because there was no evidence that she was a leader, member, or militant of the MRTA. Dr. Walter Julian Vivas, disagreed with her findings and rewrote the current charges to include active participation based on charges used against Lori from the military tribunals of December 1995. Dr. Walter Julian Vivas has never appeared in the courtroom. However, his substitute, Dr. Carlos Navas, the current Court Prosecutor, has simply followed and used all of Dr. Walter Julian Vivas' charges in the ongoing case.

Perú happenings

One week before the elections, Alejandro Toledo (who was illegally deprived of a deserved victory in last year's election by the fraudulent activities of the then President Alberto Fujimori), holds a roughly 12 percent lead over the former President Alan Garcia. It was under the previous administration of Mr. Garcia, 1985 - 1990, that the Peruvian economy collapsed and violence and terrorism significantly increased. As a result of trying to quell the violence, the Garcia administration was charged with substantial human rights violations.

The continuing investigations of disgraced President Fujimori, hiding like a coward in Japan, and his advisor Vladimiro Montesinos, whose whereabouts remain unknown, indicate the major role Fujimori played in the planning and ordering of a massacre of 15 persons in 1992 (see Website news from May 24). The Peruvian investigatory authorities will try to use this to force Japan to extradite Fujimori to Perú where he can face these murder charges, a conviction on which can result in a life sentence.

As reported in The New York Times on May 22, an investigation into the wrongful shooting down by Perú of a plane carrying U.S. missionaries last month indicates the active involvement of two US organizations, the CIA and the DEA, in Peruvian activities this past decade. The article stresses the U.S. government's role in Perú, as cited by former State Department officials, as one in which narcotics, subversion, and terrorism must be defeated at all cost and that this policy decision formed the basis for continual support of the Fujimori - Montesinos corrupt dictatorship. Hindsight, however, clearly demonstrates that one real group of terrorists in Perú was the state itself -- the Fujimori - Montesinos team and their cronies in the military, police, judiciary, press, and Peruvian Congress.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson