News from Lori's Parents

31 July 2003

In this update:

Two of Lori's human rights articles published in ArgenPress

Two recent important commentaries by Lori that appear on her Spanish Web site were published in Spanish on the well-known international news Web site InfoArgenPress (from Argentina). The articles are concerned with the 'Fantasy of Terrorism' that has been revived in Perú and its impact on the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as well as its effect on the lives of political prisoners. An English version of the first article appears has been posted.

Lori recognizes a sinister movement aimed at crushing the two years of work by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission so necessary to move Peruvian society forward to benefit all its peoples. She urges us to support this Commission's important endeavors even though she personally has publicly stated her many misgivings about its independence and its objectivity. Nevertheless, she questions why certain elements of Peruvian society are afraid of 'truth' being revealed.

Despite the miserable conditions under which she and other political prisoners have lived and her concern that there is a movement within the Peruvian government to make these conditions even much more inhumane, Lori opines that preventing the sinister destruction of the Commission is a more urgent issue than fighting for her rights and those of her fellow prisoners. Lori concludes: "Today there is a real possibility to come to an understanding of the truth and recognition of ignored and avoided realities. This would greatly contribute to making a sincere and open discussion which will aid in the building of a better future. It would be a great waste if this opportunity were missed. There is still time. The Government, Peruvian institutions, the direct participants [in the twenty years of conflict and violence], and principally society as a whole will have the final say."

We have learned that this first article is being widely distributed in El Salvador, where Lori worked for several years and saw how a truth commission can be developed and undertake its mission properly.

Call to action: Support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Lori urges support for the work of the Commission whose report is due August 28. She asks, "Who in Peruvian society should be afraid of learning the 'truth'"? Please join the international human rights community and the Peruvian human rights community by urging President Toledo to support the work of the Commission and insure that its final report represents the beginning of real dialogue among society as a whole as well as all participants of the twenty years of conflict. Only then can Peruvian society learn from its past and begin the work that will be of benefit to all.

Please send President Toledo a short letter (in English or Spanish) making the above points. Address the letter to: Dr. Alejandro Toledo, President of the Republic of Perú, Attn: Ambassador Roberto Danino, Embassy of Per", 1700 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington DC, 20036. The fax and e-mail are: Fax: (202) 659-8124 and e-mail:

Article on Lori appears in 'Ground Score'

"Who is Lori Berenson?," an article written by Mike Connelly and Arnie Matlin, the Rochester-area Coordinators of the Committee to Free Lori Berenson, appeared in the July 2003 issue of the e-zine "Ground Score" . We are grateful to Mike and Arnie for this review of Lori's case which serves as a reminder of the injustice she has faced.

Perú finally files formal extradition papers against Fujimori

After much delay, the Peruvian government has finally filed formal extradition papers with the Japanese government, demanding the return of the fugitive ex-President Alberto Fujimori, hiding in Japan under the guise of Japanese citizenship. The extradition papers ask that Fujimori be returned to Perú to face charges of crimes against humanity. Amnesty International collected more than 22,000 signatures in support of the extradition and former President Jimmy Carter, on behalf of the Carter Center for Human Rights, wrote a letter stating, "I firmly believe that Mr. Fujimori must assume responsibility for actions committed when he was president of Perú and it is essential to send a message that corruption and violations of human rights cannot be tolerated in the Western Hemisphere or anywhere in the world."

Meanwhile, from his safe haven in Japan, Mr. Fujimori has formed a new Peruvian political party and has announced his intention to return to run for the presidency in the 2006 elections!!!!!!

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson