News from Lori's Parents

7 October 1998

In this update:

Lori's Petition Against Perú To Be Heard at Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

On Thursday, October 8th, we will appear at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. along with our legal advisors, Ramsey Clark (former U.S. Attorney General) and Thomas Nooter, for a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The hearing is to consider the petition filed on Lori's behalf on January 22nd, after all legal remedies in Perú were exhausted.

We have great confidence that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will take the necessary actions that result in securing Lori's release. Lori was in Perú because of her concern for human rights and she, too, places great confidence in the work of the Inter-American Commission. She believes it would be a great victory for human rights in the Western Hemisphere for the Commission to act decisively, affirmatively, and quickly.

There is absolutely no debate among international legal scholars, or governments other than Perú, about the illegality of the secret and hooded military tribunals which were used to convict Lori and thousands of others. Therefore, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights should be able to quickly affirm that Lori's conviction is illegal. It is a most fundamental right of a human being in any real democracy to have a public trial before a legitimate court, to having meaningful access to a lawyer, to be able to cross examine witnesses, to present evidence on one's own behalf, and, in fact, to be told what the charges actually are. Lori was denied all of these.

In addition, it is the consensus of the international community that conditions in Yanamayo in which Lori is held, as well as in the other Peruvian maximum security military prisons, violate international standards and constitute cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. It is outrageous that she has been wrongfully incarcerated under such conditions for nearly three years. Lori has always said she is innocent and Perú has never demonstrated any evidence to the contrary -- a secret military tribunal could say anything it wishes! In June, even Perú's then Prime Minister, Javier Valle Riestra, a respected constitutional lawyer, was critical of the military tribunals and said her trial was flawed and a conviction on treason against a Fatherland to whom she owes no allegiance is absurd.

It is our hope that the Commission will strongly remind Perú of its moral and legal obligation to abide by internationally accepted procedures and press Perú to grant Lori her release.

Segment on Lori Scheduled to Air on NBC's "Extra"

On Thursday, October 8th, a segment about Lori's case is scheduled to be televised on NBC's "Extra." Barring the unforeseen, the program will be shown between 7 and 7:30 p.m. in the New York metropolitan area and at other times across the country. In those cities which televise "Extra" before 4 p.m., the program regarding Lori is scheduled to be shown on Friday.

U.S. Senate Passes "Sense of Senate" Resolution Regarding U.S. Citizens Held in Peruvian Prisons

In preparation for the forthcoming Foreign Operations Bill which gives much tax payer money to Perú, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution (SEC. 581) regarding Peruvian government's treatment of U.S. citizens incarcerated in that country. The resolution reminds Perú that as a signatory of the International Covenent on Civil and Political Rights it is obligated to grant prisoners timely legal proceedings and ensure that any U.S. citizen charged with committing a crime receive an open and fair trial in a civilian court.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson