News from Lori's Parents

10 January 2002

In this update:

Rhoda visits Lori in Huacariz prison

Rhoda spent the new year weekend visiting Lori in her new prison in Cajamarca. Lori had recovered from her bruises but was still angered by the brutal method with which she was transferred and by the beatings and teargas foisted on the women who had been imprisoned with her in Lima. She was particularly concerned for the well-being of Nancy Gilvonio who was severely beaten and sexually abused before being transferred to a prison on the northern coast of Perú. Lori had also been fondled and groped by the masked police goons who had attacked her cellblock in the early morning hours of December 21.

Lori expressed concern for the repression in human rights and the latest crackdown on political prisoners by prison authorities. First, government officials tried to "hide" the truth from the Peruvian people by stating these prison moves were conducted "normally." Then officials falsely claimed that the teargas was needed to overcome prisoner resistance and insisted there were no beatings and no sexual abuse. The Peruvian people deserve to hear the truth from government officials in their fledgling democracy.

Religious leader delegation visits Lori and brings letters to Perú urging her release

An ecumenical delegation consisting of Rabbi Balfour Brickner (Stephen Wise Free Synagogue of NY), Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton (Archdiocese of Detroit), Ms. Shirley Magidson (Peacekeepers Order of Zen -- Los Angeles), the Rev. Dr. William J. Nottingham (Christian Church -- Disciples of Christ, Indianapolis) and Rabbi Joshua Saltzman (American World Jewish Services -- NY) visited Perú last weekend to present a packet containing letters signed by hundreds of religious leaders across the United States and around the world addressed to Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, urging Lori's release on humanitarian grounds.

The delegation visited with Lori on Sunday January 6 in the rural northern highlands Prison of Huacariz on the outskirts of Cajamarca, 360 miles from Lima, and also visited with other prisoners in celebration of the "Seis de Enero" or "Feast of Kings" holiday. They found Lori in good spirits and adjusting well to the new prison after the barbaric transfer on December 21.

The delegation returned to Lima on Monday January 7 and met with U.S. Ambassador to Perú John Hamilton and several Peruvian human rights workers and government officials. In particular, the delegation had meetings in the offices of the Justice Ministry and Foreign Ministry.

The delegation presented the office of the Foreign Ministry with the packet of letters and were assured they would be delivered to President Toledo. A full list of signatures will soon appear on the website.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson