Sentenced in Peru

New York Times -- 23 June 2001

The authors were part of an ecumenical delegation of religious leaders also consisting of Rev. Dr. William J. Nottingham and Fr. Bill Bichsel, S.J.

the Editor:

Re "20-Year Sentence for New Yorker After 2nd Terrorism Trial in Peru" (front page, June 21):

We have just returned as witnesses at Lori Berenson's trial in Lima, Peru. The United States government demanded that the antiterrorist laws instituted by Peru's former president, Alberto K. Fujimori, be stricken in 1993 and 1994. Ms. Berenson was convicted under these laws even though she was arrested in 1995. What a sham that Mr. Fujimori is in exile in Japan and Ms. Berenson is in jail for truly caring about the persecution, torture and poverty of the Peruvian people!

Ms. Berenson was convicted on hearsay and the testimony of collaborators with Peru's corrupt government. President Bush and Congress should do everything in their power to obtain her release, especially now as Peru's president-elect, Alejandro Toledo, arrives in Washington to ask the United States for $500 million in relief for the Peruvian people.

Los Angeles, June 21, 2001