American activist Lori Berenson ordered back to Peruvian prison

Parole for American activist Lori Berenson was rescinded Wednesday and an order issued for her immediate capture to be returned to prison, Vice Justice Minister Luis Marill del Águila announced.

An appeals court ruled in favor of Peruvian prosecutors that penitentiary officials miscalculated the time served on her 20-year sentence for collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). Her parole paperwork also failed to correctly list the address of the upscale Miraflores apartment where she planned to reside.

U.S. Embassy spokesman James Fennell released a statement that Berenson was at the U.S. Consul for a pre-arranged meeting when she received word that her parole had been rescinded.

“It was the decision of Lori Berenson to comply with the judicial order and turn herself in immediately,” Fennell said. “With Ms. Berenson’s consent, she was retrieved by the Peruvian police.”

Berenson was conditionally released in May after serving nearly 15 years. Peru’s state attorney for counter-terrorism, Julio Galindo, told cable news station Canal N  on Wednesday that Berenson’s parole had not been revoked, but rather nullified. Once she has completed 15 years in prison in November she can apply for parole again, he said.

Berenson appeared in court Monday and apologized for her past crimes and asked the judges to let her remain free on parole, saying she poses no threat Peruvian society and that her overriding focus now is to raise her 15-month-old baby boy, Salvador, who was born behind bars.

“I was sentenced for the crime of collaboration with terrorism, and I did collaborate with the MRTA.  I have never been a leader, nor a militant. I have never participated in acts of violence nor of bloodshed, nor have I killed anyone,” she said.

“I am now a 40-year-old woman. I left home when I was young,” she continued. “But I have a family who have sacrificed everything for me, and I would like to pay them back somehow. And more than that, I have a child, a 15-month-old son and he is a child I would like to be close to, like any mother. I would like to bring up my son to be a good man.  That is now my objective.”

Berenson was arrested on a public bus in downtown Lima on November 30, 1995, along with the wife of a top MRTA leader. She was charged with helping plan a thwarted takeover of Peru’s Congress and sentenced to life by a secret military court for “treason against the fatherland.” But that conviction was vacated in 2000 and she was retried and convicted the following year by a civilian court.

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2 Comments

  1. Can a terrorist just apologize for her crimes and go free?
    Lori Berenson is not an activist. She is a terrorist responsible for over 25000 deaths in Peru. People like her should never get out of prison. Do you think that if she had committed those crimes in the US, she could go free?

    • Exactly. Lori Berenson is not an activist. She is a terrorist. I don´t know what would happen if a peruvian middle class girl would go to the USA and be an “activist” for Bin Laden´s “causes”. Because, MRTA and Shinning Path are exactly the same. Literally. That Lori Berenson didn´t know what they were doing? Impossible. The dogs hanging in the street lights everywhere in the country were a constant reminder of what MRTA and Shinning Path meant.
      Honestly, I don´t buy her “apology”. And it´s a shame what she´s doing to her child. Nevertheless, her ex husband, Anibal Apari is also a terrorist.

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