Perú's Ambassador Writes to the NY Times

The New York Times -- 24 January 1996

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Re: "Peru Mocks Due Process" (editorial, Jan. 16)

The critical situation faced by Peru in recent years as a result of terrorist attacks has led to the adoption of a special jurisdiction that complies with international due process standards.

It is inaccurate to state that because the American Lori Helene Berenson is a foreigner, she could not or should not be tried for treason, as the crime of aggravated terrorism is defined in Peru's emergency legislation.

So-called "faceless courts" guarantee security and anonymity for judges exposed to terrorist attacks and reprisals.

Ms. Berenson never made a secret of her involvement with the Tupac Amaru revolutionary movement, a group with a record of assassinations, bombings, kidnappings, robberies and attacks, including against the United States Embassy in Lima.

Judgments about Peru's economic and political stability, or about the character of its democracy, cannot be based on Ms. Berenson's case, in which Peru has only applied the law.

Ricardo V. Luna
Ambassador of Peru
Washington, Jan. 17, 1996