News from Lori's Parents

11 January 1996

In this update:

Mark Berenson's Statement on Lori's Sentence

In the past half hour I was notified that Lori was given a life sentence for treason against Perú. I hope that every citizen in this country and in the free world will join me in protest against an outrageous, brutal, evil, cowardly sham of a military "justice" system that exists in Perú. Everything remains secret -- Lori had no chance to defend herself and no due process. The US Embassy just stated it is not even sure that Perú will follow its own rules (which they have been reguarly breaking) with respect to the review process. She won't even be able to participate in he own review process. There is talk of moving her to a prison by Lake Titicaca now, with no further chance for visitors for over a year. She will have only a bible for the rest of her life, no other reading materials, no pictures, and nothing else that could provide mental or physical activity.

The decision of the judge to up the recommended sentence from 30 years to life is as absurd as anything that has taken place to date. It is a total defiance against all people who believe in fair play and justice. It is a defiance against the government of the United States.

The Peruvian government never has shown or proven its evidence against Lori. The whole "trial" and decision is secretive. Even the decision is put in her file and the US Embassy and State Department have no access to it.

Paraded illegally before the Peruvian people prior to her sentencing, Lori bravely and courageously told the Peruvian government of its injustice and lack of humane treatment for its citizens. She stood ready to face a jail sentence for her idealogical views. She admitted nothing in her statement that would enable them to charge her with treason or to up the recommended sentence from 30 years to life.

Lori, who is always calm, gave her statement with anger -- she had obviously been provoked by something (psychological pressure) -- and the Peruvian press and military saw her defiance, militance and anger rather than the words she used showing her love for the indigenous peoples who have been abused by this supposed "democratic" government. We were told by her lawyer that the judge used her angered tone to claim she was a militant -- so their procedure is (1) make her angry and (2) use this anger to convict her.

I ask all citizens of the United States if this is the kind of country we should be providing economic or military aid to? I ask all citizens of the United States if this is a country which we should be visiting as tourists?

I vow that I will fight this injustice against my daughter with every remaining breath in my body.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson