News from Lori's Parents

27 January 2002

In this update:

Lori awaits Perú's Supreme Court verdict

Appearing before the 5-judge panel of Perú's highest appeal's court, Lori's defense lawyer argued for Lori's liberty on the grounds there was no evidence to warrant a conviction, that the trial was flawed with dozens of violations in due process because the trial was held under the antiterrorism legislation that has been universally condemned, and that the chief judge had prejudged her. The prosecutor, ignoring former Inter-American Court decisions that trials such as Lori's do not meet international due process standards, stated that Lori had full due process and he urged a stiffer monetary fine (increased from 29 thousand dollars to 5.8 million dollars -- a 200 fold increase) for her alleged crimes.

According to all guestimates and based on "ever-flexible" Peruvian law, a decison is expected within 15 working days of the hearing -- that is, not later than February 12. We are not holding our breath.

Bishop Gumbleton's homily discusses Lori

On January 20, Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton of the Archdiocese of Detroit delivered a homily from "The Peace Pulpit" that reflected on several issues including his recent visit to Lori (see National Catholic Reporter). It was Bishop Gumbleton's third visit to Lori. Some passages are reprinted below.

"A couple of weeks ago, I visited Lori Berenson in Perú, a young woman from the United States. She has identified herself with the poor and the oppressed in that country and is in jail right now and has been there for six and a half years and is facing a twenty year sentence.

"I was truly energized and amazed by Lori Berenson.

"You think of jail as a very dismal place, a very dark place. She was there as a light among the other prisoners. She has identified with their struggle. These are all political prisoners, all people who have been oppressed and put in jail because they are struggling for justice and for peace and for love. Lori Berenson is in their midst. She helps them to see their own worth. She helps them to understand that they are not to be put down and have their rights violated.

"The women who are with her are coming alive because of her energy and her determination to stand up for her rights and for her dignity. And they begin to share that. It's truly amazing what I saw in that prison, this young woman who has become one with the poor and the oppressed and is a light to them."

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson