News from Lori's Parents
2 March 2002In this update:
- Support the "Urgent Action" by National Organization of Women ("NOW") calling for Lori's release
- Laura Furst appointed National Organizer of Committee to Free Lori Berenson
- Lori's hunger protest continues
- New on the website homepage
- White House "Call In Campaign" continues
Support the "Urgent Action" by National Organization of Women ("NOW") calling for Lori's release
This past fall the National Organization for Women (NOW) passed a resolution in support of Lori's "immediate release and safe passage out of Peru." The NOW resolution appears on our website.
On February 22, NOW initiated an "Urgent Action" campaign for Lori's release. Please visit the NOW website and under Urgent Actions on the homepage click on to Free Lori Berenson. There are two letters that you can immediately e-mail or print out, one for President Bush and the other for Secretary of State Powell. This is crucial, given President Bush's forthcoming visit to Peru.
We are very grateful to the leadership of NOW for championing Lori's case.
Note that the NOW resolution and letters can serve as a model for other organizations. If you would like more information on getting your organization involved in such actions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Furst appointed National Organizer of Committee to Free Lori Berenson
Our Washington DC office has expanded its activities as we strive to seek Lori's release. Next week Laura Furst will assume the position of National Organizer of the Committee to Free Lori Berenson. Laura, who holds an MA in International Politics (minor in Conflict Resolution) from the University of Kentucky's Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, will be joining Administrative Assistant Katie Roberts who holds a BA in Philosophy and Sociology from Villanova University. We are very grateful to Gail Taylor for her service as National Organizer since October 1999. She significantly increased our Committee's support base around the world. Gail has taken her expertise and enthusiasm to the School of Americas Watch and we wish her well in this and all future endeavors.
Lori's hunger protest continues
Today is the 13th day of Lori's hunger protest and we have had no word as to her condition or that of other prisoners. The hunger protest began in Lima 20 days ago by political prisoners and has spread throughout the country, affecting approximately 1,000 persons. Although the Peruvian Justice Minister simply dismissed the prisoners' demands as "terrorist rhetoric," no objective person would agree that suggestions for improving human rights and justice in Peru are terrorist rhetoric. The prisoners have urged an end to impunity that started under earlier governments whereby police, military, and paramilitary units were absolved from their violent (government approved) crimes. The prisoners have demanded an end to the illegal internationally condemned anti-terrorism legislation and have asked for new trials. The prisoners have demanded that officials stop repressive acts within the prison system and to respect their fundamental rights as human beings. The prisoners have asked for transfers to be closer to their homes to facilitate visits from family members financially unable to visit at long distances. The prisoners have demanded the closing of three prisons condemned as inhumane by every international and Peruvian human rights group. The prisoners have urged the government to facilitate the work of the Truth Commission so that the Peruvian people and the world can finally learn the truth about the political violence and terrorism that affected Peru for nearly two decades.
New on the website homepage
Lori's powerful closing remarks to the Court on June 20, 2001 now can be readily accessed in both the original Spanish and English translation.
White House "Call In Campaign" continues
Reminder -- Please keep up the calls to the White House "hot line" on every Tuesday in March, if possible. The number is 202-456-1111. Ask to speak to the hotline operator and tell that person that you ask President Bush to bring Lori Berenson home when he visits Peru on March 23rd -- she has suffered enough.
Many thanks, - Rhoda and Mark Berenson