News from Lori's Parents

9 October 2005

In this update:

Visits to Lori

On two consecutive weekends Lori was visited by her friend Kristen and then by Rhoda. Both found her to be in very good spirits, keeping herself busy working full days in the prison bakery. Since Lori is on her feet all day, she wears a body brace prescribed by the Peruvian prison doctor to support her back in an effort to ease the effects of scoliosis and osteoarthritis of the spine that she was recently diagnosed has having.

Article on Lori and US Policy in Latin America is Published

Nicholas Birns, a professor at the New School and senior research fellow at the Council of Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), recently published "Lori Through the Looking Glass: A New Perspective on the Lori Berenson Case." This is an excellent, well-researched article on Lori's case and its parallels with U.S. foreign policy.

Book on Shakespeare Dedicated to Lori

We wish to express our gratitude to Bernice Kliman and Rick Santos for dedicating to Lori the book they edited, "Latin American Shakespeares" published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. The dedication reads, "We dedicate this book to Lori Berenson, whose sacrifice has led to wider awareness of political struggles in Latin America."

Assistance for Political Prisoners In Perú

As you know, during Lori's time in prison she has gotten to know the stories of many political prisoners in Perú. In prison they face human rights abuses, the need for legal representation, and the need for help with basic survival, such as medical care and adequate food. Upon release they continue to need legal assistance to close their files so they are not re-arrested on out-dated warrants. And they need assistance integrating back into society - help in obtaining jobs, housing, and other forms of social support.

Last year a group consisting of a former prisoner, a human rights activist and concerned defense attorneys founded the Association for Legal Aid and Social Action (ALAS) in order to help resolve some of these problems.

ALAS needs support to continue providing legal and other types of assistance to current and former political prisoners. If you would like to help, please send a tax-deductible donation to Rights Action, PO Box 50887, Washington DC 20091 (telephone: 202-783-1123) or donate on-line at Important! Please be sure to write ALAS on the memo line of your check or identify ALAS if donating on-line.

The Passing of Rabbi Balfour Brickner

On September 1st the New York Times reported on the death of Rabbi Balfour Brickner, rabbi emeritus at the Stephen Wise Free Synogogue in New York City, who, among his many humanitarian and social justice involvements, also served on the Advisory Board of the Committee to Free Lori Berenson.

Rabbi Brickner participated in a religious delegation to Perú in January 2002 that gave President Toledo a letter signed by hundreds of religious leaders around the world calling for Lori's release. The delegation then went to Cajamarca to visit Lori who had just been brought to the Huacariz mountain prison a few weeks earlier.

The New York Times article called Rabbi Brickner "a voice of Reform Judaism on issues like race and abortion" and noted that "he took part in the civil rights struggle and the Vietnam anti-war movement and was a founder of Religious Leaders for a Free Choice." Deeply concerned about Israel's occupation of Palestine, "he remained committed to the search for reconciliation and peace in the Middle East."

We were shocked, as was Lori, when learning of Rabbi Brickner's passing. Nobody who met him would think this active, energetic vibrant man was 78 years old. We want to extend our deepest sympathy to Rabbi Brickner's family and loved ones. We will always be grateful for his love and concern for us and for Lori. We were fortunate to have known him. He will be missed.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson