News from Lori's Parents

9 June 1999

In this update:

House letter for Lori sent to President with 176 cosigners

More than 40% of the House of Representatives cosigned a letter urging President Clinton to use Act of Congress 22 USC Section 1732 and do all within his power short of going to war to secure Lori's immediate release from Perú. This law requires the President of the United States to intervene on behalf of a wrongfully incarcerated American. After the letter was sent, other Congressional Representatives expressed their support. The complete list of supporters will appear on Lori's web site along with the text of the letter.

Senate letter for Lori is still circulating

To date, 27 members of the U.S. Senate have cosigned the letter sponsored by Senators Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jim Jeffords urging Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to seek a humanitarian release for Lori. The letter will circulate until June 18th. Check Lori's web site to see if your Senators have signed. If not, please urge them to do so.

Inter-American Human Rights Court of the O.A.S rules against Perú

Last week, in San Jose, Costa Rica, the Inter-American Human Rights Court of the Organization of American States ruled that the faceless Peruvian military tribunals were in complete violation of international law and unanimously stated that four Chileans sentenced for treason against Peru must be given civilian trials with full due process and that each of their families be awarded $10,000 for expenses incurred to date.

The Peruvian government immediately responded by stating that neither the Chileans nor Lori Berenson will ever be granted a civilian trial.

Lori's case against Perú is pending a full hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the O.A.S. this fall. The expectation is that if Perú does not comply with its recommendations, this body will take the case to the San Jose Court. We, and Lori, are very disappointed to learn about the Peruvian government's response to the Court's recent decision regarding the Chileans. Perú is obligated to meet its international legal commitments and has done so in a previous human rights case decided by this Court.

U.S. ecumenical delegation visits Lori in Socabaya Prison

On May 26th a three-person ecumenical delegation consisting of Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein (Temple B'nai Jeshurun in New York City), the Reverend Doctor William J. Nottingham (Christian Church: Disciples of Christ and the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis), and Sister Doctor Eileen Storey (Sisters of Charity in New York City) visited Lori up close (no screens) in Socabaya Prison. They reported that they had an excellent one-hour visit with Lori and Lori subsequently told us how wonderful she found this meeting to be. The delegation also met with members of the U.S. Embassy, including Ambassador Dennis Jett, as well as Peruvian government and religious officials.

Congressional briefing on Lori's case to be held June 30th

The Congressional Human Rights Caucus will hold a Congressional Briefing on the Lori Berenson Case in the U.S. Congress on Wednesday, June 30th, at 4 p.m. The Congressional Briefing, called by the Caucus co-chair Representatives Tom Lantos (D-CA) and John Edward Porter (R-IL), is open to the public. Members of the House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, and their respective staffs will be invited to learn more about Lori's case. There are egregious violations in 10 of the 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human rights to which Perú is a signatory. Details regarding the program, including a list of speakers, will be given in our next update.

- Rhoda and Mark Berenson