News from Lori's Parents

16 October 2001

In this update:

Mark visits Lori

Having not visited Lori in over three months Mark returned to Perú and spent an entire day with her. Mark found Lori in good spirits but was disappointed to see her hands swollen and fingers red following the three months of Peruvian winter. Apparently the high altitude circulatory problems that developed at Yanamayo Prison, are still affecting her after more than one year at sea level in Lima.

The processing of Lori's appeal, filed with the Supreme Court of Perú on July 4, has been delayed because of major changes in court personnel.

Lori and Mark spent a great deal of time talking about the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Mark brought Lori newspapers from New York City and magazines in English that dealt with the atrocities so she could have a better understanding as to what has happened. Prison officials permitted Lori to receive these items. Lori said she was horrified to learn of the attack and was very saddened to read about the loss of life of so many innocent persons.

Call to Action: Letter from religious leaders

We are beginning a campaign to obtain signatures of religious leaders on a letter seeking Lori's release and we need your help. The letter will appeal to the conscience of Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo.

We will be gathering the letters from across the country and around the world and we will deliver them as a package to President Toledo in Lima toward the end of November. November 30 will commemorate the sixth anniversary of Lori's wrongful incarceration.

Here is how you can help with this current action:

  1. Print the letter shown below or use the fully formatted version by downloading the PDF file here.
  2. Take the letter to your place of worship and ask that the religious leaders sign it (several leaders can sign the same letter).
  3. Ask other religious leaders whom you know personally to sign the letter.
  4. By mid-November, please send the signed letters to The Committee to Free Lori Berenson, 110 Maryland Avenue, Suite 112, Washington, DC 20002.

Many thanks for your continued help.

His Excellency Dr. Alejandro Toledo
President of the Republic of Perú
Palacio de Gobierno
Lima, Perú

Dear President Toledo:

We, members of religious communities of various faiths, want to wish you much success as President of Perú. We have confidence that under your leadership, democratic institutions that were dismantled by the Fujimori-Montesinos government will be restored and that the social injustices that have plagued the Peruvian people will be eradicated.

We are writing to ask your consideration for the release of Lori Berenson. She has told those of us who have met her and those of us who have corresponded with her that she is innocent of the charges and we do not feel that her recent civilian trial proved otherwise. She is a woman with deep concern for the plight of the poor in Perú and elsewhere. Both at her trial and in recent interviews she has expressed her condemnation of terrorism and her deep concern for those who have suffered directly and indirectly under terrorist acts. She speaks of her love for the people of Perú, not violence and hate.

We are deeply concerned that her recent civilian trial did not provide Ms. Berenson with the full guarantees of due process as required by international law and neither was there protection from double jeopardy. Lori Berenson has suffered unjustly for nearly six years, used by the Fujimori-Montesinos government to further their own political gains, and the harsh imprisonment has taken its toll on her well-being.

It is a matter of spiritual concern to us that Ms. Berenson was unjustly imprisoned for nearly three years in Yanamayo with a life sentence, which was later rescinded because the charges of treason were unfounded and the circumstances betrayed the religious and humanistic traditions of your great nation. As religious leaders, we ask for your good will and her release.


Printed Name:

Title and Affiliation:

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson