News from Lori's Parents

07 November 2001

In this update:

Washington event to mark Lori's 32nd birthday

On Tuesday evening, November 13th, Rhoda and Mark invites you to "celebrate" Lori's birthday attending a panel discussion entitled "Fighting Terrorism, Endangering Civil Liberties: The Case of Perú and the United States," will be held at the Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Avenue NE (on Capital Hill near Union Station). The panelists will be Jose Luis Sandoval Quesada, Peruvian criminal justice lawyer, and Kit Gage, Washington, DC-based activist and legal worker. The event will be moderated by Gail Taylor, National Organizer of the Committee to Free Lori Berenson, and opening remarks will be given by Anna Marie Gallagher, ESQ, Advocacy Fellow at Georgetown University Law School - Center for Applied Legal Studies. The event will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Please join us if you can. For more information, please contact Gail Taylor at

Mark will be visiting Lori in her Lima prison on Sunday November 18th and will be bringing a freshly baked but belated birthday cake.

Mark and Gail speak at North Carolina conference

Many thanks to the student activist group Students United for a Responsible Global Environment (SURGE) at UNC-Chapel Hill for hosting such an inspiring series of workshops the last weekend in October, which included a workshop on Perú and the Case of Lori Berenson led by Mark Berenson and Gail Taylor, National Organizer. Over 200 students participated in the conference. Thanks to the SURGErs for their hospitality and commitment to Lori's freedom and other social justice causes. While in Chapel Hill, Mark and Gail also met with more than a dozen folks connected to the local Free Lori chapter under the leadership of Regional Coordinator Joe Straley. It was great meeting everyone.

Mark and Rhoda attend Boston-Cambridge area fund raiser

A benefit for Lori, "An Evening of Music and Poetry in English and Spanish," was held on November 3 at the St. John's Methodist Church in Watertown MA. We are very grateful to Lenny Shames for organizing this event and for the generous donation of time by folk singer/song writer/guitarist Dean Stevens, the jazz/Latin duo of Mili Bermejo (singer and song writer) and Dan Greenspan (base), and poet Martin Espada (professor of English, U. Mass. Amherst).

In the news

Three recent articles attracted attention. An October 27 New York Times article by Clifford Krauss quotes Peruvian Justice Minister Fernando Olivera that ex spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos "still maintains authority and power. He still controls judges. The cleansing process [in Perú] is not over." Montesinos has been imprisoned since late June in the dungeons of Callao, the Peruvian naval base outside Lima. He is charged with arms-dealing, drug-trafficking, money-laundering, extortion, wire-tapping, disappearances, torture, and numerous human rights violations. Krauss opines that Montesinos's continuing reach suggests that many in high positions, particularly in the justice system and the security forces, are resisting anything resembling a meaningful purge of corrupt officials. In an interview in June, Lori commented on the lack of fairness in her trial. She said she "was tried under Fujimori's illegal laws and by Montesinos's men."

Also, a recent Associated Press wire indicated that Amnesty International called on the government of Japan to extradite the disgraced ex-President, Alberto Fujimori, who has been living in exile since last November, avoiding arrest on charges of crimes against humanity. Japan and Perú do not have an extradition treaty and so far Japan has refused to permit one of its own citizens to be brought to justice.

A November 4 New York Times article by Clifford Krauss, "Peruvian Leader's Image Problems Add to Political Woes," describes the problems faced by President Alejandro Toledo as he tries to move Perú towards democracy and build on a struggling economy in the face of global financial difficulties.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson