News from Lori's Parents

30 May 2003

In this update:

Lori Completes 7.5 Years in Prison

May 30 marks the seven-and-a-half year anniversary of Lori's wrongful incarceration. Since last September, her case has been awaiting start of hearings at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in San Jose, Costa Rica. The Court only meets four times a year, each for two-week sessions, and her case is awaiting its turn. Meanwhile, Lori continues to occupy her time by making handcrafts, cards, knitting, and writing articles for the Website . Lori's articles are being placed in a special dialogue box that you will be able to click on and access. We will let you know when that is available.

Perú in "State of Emergency"

With his popularity dropping to a new low of 14%, Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo put Perú under a 30-day "State of Emergency" this week, calling on the military and the police to restore and keep order after multiple strikes threatened to paralyze the country. Tanks are rolling in the streets of Lima and other large cities. Disruptions marked by violent clashes have occurred from Puno in the south to Cajamarca in the north. Scores of persons have been injured, at least one student protestor has been killed, and scores of demonstrators have been arrested. As of today, the prisons remain calm.

Two human rights groups, Amnesty International and WOLA, made public statements about their concern for the protection of human rights for all people under the state of siege. Amnesty International urged the military and police to avoid excessive force and abuse of their newly granted authority and WOLA criticized the State of Emergency as an excessive act on the part of the Peruvian government. Early opinion polls show that the majority of Peruvians are against this State of Emergency (54% to 41% with 5% undecided) that prohibits the right to assemble in public or even in one's own home. Countrywide strikes by farmers, healthcare workers, transportation workers, judicial workers, and teachers have broken down the social fabric and the Toledo government has not been able to resolve the disputes.

Amnesty International Annual Human Rights Report Critical of Perú's Judicial Reform

In early May, Amnesty International severely criticized the Toledo government for failing to follow through with promised human rights improvements, including the failure to adequately change the anti-terrorism laws so that political prisoners could have fair trials with full due process. This week, Amnesty International also published its 2002 Annual Human Rights Report, condemning trials like Lori's as failing to comply with international standards stipulated in the American Convention on Human Rights.

June 20

June 20 will mark the second anniversary of Lori's wrongful sentencing following her unfair civilian trial. A write-in and call-in campaign is being planned.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson