News from Lori's Parents

26 Mach 2002

In this update:

President Bush raises Lori's case with President Toledo

Despite all the predictions and statements from Peruvian officials that Lori's case would not be on the agenda when President Bush made his historic visit to Perú on Saturday, Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters that President Bush raised the issue and again, like last June, forcefully expressed his compassionate concerns. Taking time out from this important meeting to discuss Lori's situation was clearly an indication to Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo that Lori's case remains an important issue for the Bush administration and for bilateral relations between the US and Perú. President Bush mentioned to President Toledo that the US government was awaiting the pending decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Now that Lori's appeal to the Peruvian Supreme Court has concluded, the Commission is able to complete its findings and Secretary of State Powell said that "when they have completed their review and made their decision known, perhaps that may offer an opportunity for President Toledo to examine the whole case and take another look at what might be possible." Despite what you may have read quoted from Peruvian officials, Lori's "is not closed."

As we await the decision of the Commission we feel we have the support from the US government and believe Lori's rights will be protected by the Commission. The Commission is next scheduled to meet in plenary session in Washington in the fall but that does not preclude an earlier decision on Lori's case if it should choose to do so.

A report from Reuters listed on CNN this afternoon indicates that the Commission is bringing the case directly to the Inter-American Human Rights Court in San Jose, Costa Rica. To our knowledge, this is not appropriate procedure and we are in the process of questioning/verifying the information in this article. Appropriate procedure requires that the next step be a decision and recommendation by the Commission that would be forwarded to us and to the government of Perú. Any involvement of the Court, if necessary, is a later step in the process.

On behalf of Lori, thank you all for your help!

We are extremely grateful for all your letters, postcards, and calls to President Bush urging his intervention on Lori's behalf and we are also grateful to the many members of the US Congress for their letters and calls of support. We believed that President Bush would not neglect Lori and we are truly grateful for his expression of concern.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson