House of Representatives letter to Clinton

June 1999

This letter to President Clinton, urging him to take action on Lori's case, was signed by 176 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The signing members are listed below. If your Representative is listed, please take the time to send to them a note of thanks. Letting them know that their support is appreciated will assist our future efforts.

The letter was sponsored by Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), James Leach (R-IA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), and Connie Morella (R-MD).

June 4, 1999

President William Jefferson Clinton
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Clinton:

For more than three years, Lori Berenson, an American citizen, has been incarcerated in Peru, serving a life sentence after being convicted by a faceless military tribunal for treason. Lori Berenson has always maintained her innocence, but she has been systematically denied due process by Peru. We urge you to do everything within your power to seek justice in her case.

Recently the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights, through its Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, stated in its official Opinion 26/1998 that Lori Berenson has been deprived of her liberty arbitrarily and that the government of Peru is in violation of two international pacts to which it is signatory -- Articles 8, 9, and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 9 and 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Working Group has declared that Peru take all necessary steps to remedy Lori's wrongful incarceration in accordance with the norms and principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Peru has not taken steps to comply with the Commission's ruling and, in fact, recently Lori was kept in solitary confinement for 115 days in Socabaya prison. On March 11, 1999, the New York Times reported that an American delegation visited Lori and found her to be in poor health.

Members of Congress have expressed their concerns about Lori's treatment in letters to Peruvian President Fujimori from 20 U.S. Senators and 87 Representatives in August 1996 and letters to Secretary Albright from 55 Senators and 180 Representatives in December 1997. It is time for stronger action.

Title 22 U.S.C. Section 1732 directs the President to take all necessary steps, short of going to war, to secure the release of an incarcerated American citizen "if it appears to be wrongful." The finding of the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights is that the Peruvian government's disregard for international norms in Lori Berenson's case is so egregious, relative to impartial judgment, that it has resulted in the wrongful arbitrary deprivation of her liberty.

Lack of leadership and effective action on Lori's case could endanger U.S. citizens not only in Peru, but in many other countries. It sends the unfortunate message that the U.S. will not act when its citizen are wrongfully imprisoned in foreign countries. In addition, lack of strong action in this case would jeopardize the importance of the office of United Nations High Commission on Human Rights and denigrate the cause of justice and human rights throughout the world.

We know that you share our concern for Lori Berenson and the unjust treatment that she has received, and we look forward to working with you to resolve her case.


Abercrombie (D-HI)

Allen (D-ME)

Andrews (D-NJ)

Baldacci (D-ME)

Baldwin (D-WI)

Becerra (D-CA)

Bentsen (D-TX)

Berman (D-CA)

Blagojevich (D-IL)

Blunt (R-MO)

Bonior (D-MI)

Borski (D-PA)

Boucher (D-VA)

Boyd (D-FL)

Brady (D-PA)

Brown, G. (D-CA)

Brown, S. (D-OH)

Capps (D-CA)

Capuano (D-MA)

Carson (D-IN)

Christian-Christensen (D-VI)

Clay (D-MO)

Clayton (D-NC)

Clement (D-TN)

Clyburn (D-SC)

Conyers, Jr. (D-MI)

Costello (D-IL)

Crowley (D-NY)

Cunningham (R-CA)

Danner (D-MO)

Davis, D.K. (D-IL)

DeFazio (D-OR)

DeGette (D-CO)

Delahunt (D-MA)

DeLauro (D-CT)

Deutsch (D-FL)

Dicks (D-WA)

Dixon (D-CA)

Doyle (D-PA)

Engel (D-NY)

English (R-PA)

Eshoo (D-CA)

Faleomavaega (D-AS)

Farr (D-CA)

Filner (D-CA)

Ford, Jr. (D-TN)

Franks (R-NJ)

Frost (D-TX)

Gejdenson (D-CT)

Gonzalez (D-TX)

Goode, Jr. (D-VA)

Granger (R-TX)

Greenwood (R-PA)

Gutierrez (D-IL)

Hall, R. (D-TX)

Hall, T. (D-OH)

Hastings (D-FL)

Hinchey (D-NY)

Hoeffel (D-PA)

Hoekstra (R-MI)

Holden (D-PA)

Holt (D-NJ)

Horn (R-CA)

Inslee (D-WA)

Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)

Jackson-Lee (D-TX)

Jefferson (D-LA)

John (D-LA)

Johnson, E.B. (D-TX)

Johnson, N. (R-CT)

Jones (D-OH)

Kaptur (D-OH)

Kelly (R-NY)

Kennedy (D-RI)

Kildee (D-MI)

Kilpatrick (D-MI)

Kind (D-WI)

King (R-NY)

Kleczka (D-WI)

Kuykendall (R-CA)

LaFalce (D-NY)

Lampson (D-TX)

Lantos (D-CA)

Larson (D-CT)

Lazio (R-NY)

Leach (R-IA)

Lee (D-CA)

Levin (D-MI)

Lewis (D-GA)

LoBiondo (R-NJ)

Lofgren (D-CA)

Lowey (D-NY)

Luther (D-MN)

Maloney, C. (D-NY)

Maloney, J. (D-CT)

Markey (D-MA)

Martinez (D-CA)

Matsui (D-CA)

McCarthy (D-NY)

McGovern (D-MA)

McInnis (R-CO)

McKinney (D-GA)

McNulty (D-NY)

Meehan (D-MA)

Meek (D-FL)

Meeks (D-NY)

Millender-McDonald (D-CA)

Miller (D-CA)

Minge (D-MN)

Mink (D-HI)

Moakley (D-MA)

Morella (R-MD)

Murtha (D-PA)

Nadler (D-NY)

Napolitano (D-CA)

Neal (D-MA)

Oberstar (D-MN)

Obey (D-WI)

Olver (D-MA)

Ose (R-CA)

Owens (D-NY)

Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)

Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ)

Pastor (D-AZ)

Payne (D-NJ)

Pelosi (D-CA)

Peterson (D-MN)

Porter (R-IL)

Price (D-NC)

Pryce (R-OH)

Rangel (D-NY)

Rodriguez (D-TX)

Rogan (R-CA)

Romero-Barcelo (D-PR)

Rothman (D-NJ)

Roybal-Allard (D-CA)

Royce (R-CA)

Rush (D-IL)

Sabo (D-MN)

Sanchez (D-CA)

Sanders (I-VT)

Sandlin (D-TX)

Schakowsky (D-IL)

Serrano (D-NY)

Shays (R-CT)

Sherman (D-CA)

Sherwood (R-PA)

Shows (D-MS)

Slaughter (D-NY)

Smith (D-WA)

Snyder (D-AR)

Spratt, Jr. (D-SC)

Stark (D-CA)

Strickland (D-OH)

Stupak (D-MI)

Talent (R-MO)

Thompson, B. (D-MS)

Thompson, M. (D-CA)

Tierney (D-MA)

Towns (D-NY)

Traficant, Jr. (D-OH)

Turner (D-TX)

Udall (D-CO)

Underwood (D-GU)

Upton (R-MI)

Velazquez (D-NY)

Waters (D-CA)

Watt (D-NC)

Waxman (D-CA)

Weiner (D-NY)

Wexler (D-FL)

Weygand (D-RI)

Whitfield (R-KY)

Woolsey (D-CA)

Wu (D-OR)

Wynn (D-MD)

Note: Barney Frank (D-MA) sent his own letter

The following Representatives agreed to sign after the letter was sent to Presi dent Clinton:

Darlene Hooley (D-OR)

Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Dennis Moore (D-KS)

Bruce Vento (D-MN)