MALONEY MAKES PLEA TO SECRETARY OF STATE ON BEHALF OF LORI BERENSON
Lori Berenson has been held prisoner in a Peruvian jail for more than two years. She was sentenced to life in prison by a secret Peruvian military tribunal, on January 11, 1996. Such proceedings are widely regarded as violations of international law.
Berenson, who is a constituent of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, has been denied a fair trial. Now, after two years of imprisonment, Lori suffers from poor circulation, and failing eyesight.
Maloney has been working with the Peruvian Government in an effort to get them to grant Lori a new trial, this time before a civilian court, that will afford her due process. However, Maloney has not been able to work out an acceptable situation for Lori, so she is asking Secretary of State Madeleine Albright for her help. One hundred and seventy five Members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, have signed on to a letter to Albright, asking that she join the effort to get Lori a new trial.
Two months ago, Maloney was part of a delegation which traveled to Peru and Ecuador to visit Americans who are unfairly imprisoned in those countries. She was able to visit with Lori, who Maloney says is in relatively good spirits.
"I was so happy to meet Lori, and talk with her. She is trying to keep a positive attitude, but when I took her hand, she was shaking from the constant chill. She suffers from chronic laryngitis from the cold of the prison. I have confidence that Secretary Albright will take up our cause. Lori deserves a fair trial," says Maloney.
Lori continues to maintain her innocence. She was convicted of terrorism against the Peruvian Government.