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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 16, 2002
1:08 PM
CONTACT:  Committee to Free Lori Berenson
Gary Handschumacher, Regional Coordinator
(970) 921.3789
OAS Rights Commission- Berenson's Human Rights Violated- Peru Will Fight Decision In Inter-American Court
 
NEW YORK - July 16 - Though the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IAHCR) has decided in Lori Berenson's favor, justice will continue to be delayed for the North American human rights activist and freelance journalist who has been wrongfully incarcerated for more than six-and-a-half years. As hoped and anticipated, the IACHR, part of the Organization of American States (OAS) has vindicated Ms. Berenson. After thoroughly reviewing her petition and holding public hearings, the Inter-American Commission, which is comprised of seven internationally recognized scholars from OAS member nations, ruled that Lori Berenson is being wrongfully held. Unfortunately, the government of Peru has decided to appeal this decision to the OAS Inter-American Court of Human Rights and, while awaiting vindication by this court Lori Berenson will remain in prison, possibly two more years, as the appeal runs its course.

The decision to not comply with the ruling of the IACHR indicates that Peru is unwilling to reform its laws ang legal system. This will surely bring further condemnation from the international human rights community. Peru's action can only be construed as support for the illegal statutes instituted by the now disgraced former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, and enforced by Vladimiro Montesinos.

For nearly seven years Lori Berenson has proclaimed her innocence. She is presently in Huacariz prison in the northern Andean city of Cajamarca. She suffers from the harsh effects of her years in inhumane Peruvian prisons. Peru's decision to appeal means that the must suffer yet longer as she awaits the decision for the Inter-American Court that will finally free her.

The Committee to Free Lori Berenson (CFLB) urges the government of Peru to demonstrate that it is among the community of nations that supports human rights by accepting the IAHCR ruling. We ask all who agree to write to Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo and urge him to end Lori's cruel, illegal imprisonment now. We also ask all to contact President Bush and remind him that he is obligated by Us statute (Article 22/USC/section1732) to come to the rescue of a citizen wrongfully held abroad. Lori Berenson is Wrongfully held in Peru and President Bush must do everything in his power to bring her home.


President Alejando Toledo, Embassy of The Republic of Peru, 1700 Massachusetts Ave,NW, Washington,DC 20036 (FAX) 202.659.8124

President Bush--202.456.1111

(Background available at www.freelori.org, or CFLB 202.548.8480)

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