News from Lori's Parents

9 October 1998

In this update:

Lori Transferred to Prison Hospital in Arequipa

On Wednesday afternoon, October 7th, Lori was transferred from Yanamayo Maximum Security Military Prison in Puno to a hospital in Socabaya Women's Prison in Arequipa, Perú's second largest city. Lori was taken under heavy security by helicopter for the 100 mile journey to Arequipa which is about 550 southwest of Lima.

Peruvian officials state that Lori was transferred for a series of medical tests to monitor her deteriorating health. We have reported to you that Lori has been suffering from some high-altitude related problems -- Yanamayo is at 12,700 feet above sea level and she now has been incarcerated there for 2 years and 9 months. Although Socabaya is still at a height of 7,500 feet above sea level, we hope that this 5,200 foot drop in altitude will alleviate some of her discomforts -- particularly those that deal with her circulation, digestion, and her swollen hands.

There is no indication of how long Lori will be kept in Socabaya. However, what is absolutely clear, sadly, is that this move was orchestrated by the Peruvian government at this time, one day before Lori's case was to be heard in an international forum (See below).

We await more information about the tests -- what and why -- and the results and we will report them as soon as we know. Given that her transfer also occurred one day before a national holiday in Perú and a weekend of elections with much government and business activity curtailed, we do not expect to know anything further for several days. U.S. Embassy officials plan to visit next week. In the meantime, Lori is incommunicado -- the State Department was told that the facility, on the outskirts of Arequipa, does not have a telephone and that the nearest available communications channel is at a military police station 30 minutes away!

Hearing on Lori's Petition at the Organization of American States Goes Well

On Thursday afternoon, October 8th, Lori's petition against the government of Perú was heard by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States. Speaking on her behalf, Lori's U.S. legal advisors Ramsey Clark and Thomas Nooter brilliantly presented arguments demonstrating the complete lack of due process in Lori's case -- including no indictment against her, no opportunity for advise and counsel by an attorney, no chance to cross examine witnesses, and no opportunity to present witnesses on one's own behalf. Arguments were made that Perú's secret military tribunals are in violation of international law and several international pacts to which that country is signatory.

It was clear to us that Perú has absolutely no hard evidence against Lori who has always maintained her innocence. Ironically, and sadly, Perú used more than two of its allotted ten minutes to present testimony by the doctor, brought nearly 4,000 miles from Puno, as to why he authorized Lori be sent for medical tests -- trying to demonstrate to this Commission Perú's "strong concern for human rights."

Note that the International Red Cross urged Perú to give Lori a battery of tests dealing with throat, eyes, skin, stomach, and liver in June. Perú agreed then, but waited until one day before an international hearing 3.5 months later to make this move so they could flaunt it! The news of Lori's transfer was broadcast throughout Perú on radio.

Now that the Inter-American Human Rights Commission has heard Lori's case, it must decide how to proceed. We expect that the case will be : given to the Inter-American Human Rights Court in San Jose, Costa Rica. The process is a lengthy one and we hope they will expedite it, given Lori's health and her already 1,043 days of wrongful incarceration.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson