News from Lori's Parents

In this update:

Rhoda & Mark attend Perú's Truth & Reconciliation Commission seminar

On June 20th, the second anniversary of Lori's wrongful sentencing, members of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission were in Washington, DC to talk about their findings to the human rights community and sections of the U.S. government. According to their literature, the mission of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is to determine the causes of violence, contribute to the clarification of the crimes and human rights violations, identify those responsible for the violence, elaborate proposals for reparation of the victims and families, recommend the implementation of reforms, and establish follow-up mechanisms for recommendations. We attended this seminar along with our Committee's national organizer Laura Furst and other supporters. Questions were raised about the treatment of political prisoners in Perú, what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had concluded about the illegal anti-terrorist laws of Perú, and whether torture of prisoners had been investigated. This Commission's findings are scheduled for release in late August, but it remains unclear whether their research was as in-depth as it should have been. USAID and other U.S. agencies provide a major part of the funding for this Commission.

Human rights group designates Lori "a Prisoner of Conscience"

On June 26th, The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC) sponsored a 24-hour vigil at Washington, DC 's Dupont Circle. This was in commemoration of the United Nations International Day in Support of Torture Victims and Survivors. As part of the vigil TASSC designated three individuals as Prisoners of Conscience. Lori was one of the three. Information about Lori and a picture of her were included as part of the vigil's presentation table. Also there was a notebook where people could write notes and thoughts to Lori. During the vigil, Katie Roberts, our Committee's assistant to the national organizer, played guitar and sang with her mother and a friend, Mary Shapiro. Also, the Committee took 30 minutes late in the evening to read testimonies of political prisoners in Perú who have been tortured and otherwise mistreated. Lori had gathered their testimonies and scripted them. All of these were a success and contributed to our Committee's commitment to ending torture and being in solidarity with others who want to end human rights abuses around the world.

Political turmoil continues in Perú

Over the past several weeks there continues to be much political unrest in Perú and political prisoners seem to be a scapegoat. The government is threatening to make prison conditions tougher. Rather than face up to real problems of poverty, inequality, and other forms of injustice, and in an effort to detract from the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, some political leaders look to place blame on those who cannot argue back. Lori recently expressed this in an article that appears on the homepage of her Spanish Web site, the title of which is "Perú's psychosocial offensive: The 'Terrorism' Phantom."

Website updated to include Lori's essays

The Web site now includes a section on Lori's writings. This can be accessed from the home page by clicking on the box "Lori's Words." In addition, there is now a direct link to the Spanish Web site by clicking on the box "en espanol."

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson