May 25th, 2010
07:20 PM ET

American jailed in Peru for helping rebels is freed

Lori Berenson, a U.S. citizen jailed in Peru since 1995 for helping leftist rebels, has been granted conditional release, a judge announced Tuesday.

Berenson has served 15 years of a 20-year sentence for aiding Peruvian rebels in a 1995 plot to overthrow Peru's congress.

Judge Jessica Leon Yarango made the announcement in a televised court hearing after Berenson's lawyer made the request.

- Journalist Maria Elena Belaunde contributed to this story from Lima.

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Filed under: Justice • Peru
soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Lise Quinn

    I've been to Peru – it has problems. But this lady wasn't part of it, she was there doing research and reporting for two American newspapers. She was not a terrorist.

    "On November 30, 1995 Lori Berenson was arrested on a public bus in downtown Lima, accused of leading an insurgent organization, the MRTA. A hooded military tribunal, using anti terrorism legislation promulgated during a state of emergency, sentenced her to life for "treason against the fatherland." Four-and-a half years later, due to international pressure, her sentence was vacated and she was retried by a civilian court under the same anti terrorism legislation. She presently is serving a 20-year sentence for collaboration.

    In April 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights declared that Lori Berenson was tried twice under illegal anti-terrorism laws that failed to comply with international standards and violated her rights to due process. The Commission further declared that Perú failed to demonstrate proof in its conviction of Lori Berenson and ruled that her rights be fully restored and that Perú must completely amend its illegal anti-terrorism laws. Because Perú refused to comply with the Commission's recommendations, the Commission brought Lori Berenson's case questioning the anti terrorism legislation before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights where it now awaits decision."

    Do some research of your own – she was no more a terrorist than Rachel Corrie (purposely run over by Israeli tanks)

    May 26, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. saxra

    MRTA were not just leftist rebels, they were part of a terrorist group. She was certainly involved with them, she was convicted and served her time. This is perhaps a wake up call to all those naif young americans trying to save the world in a different country. Sometimes they get involved in situations that later regret. You can be member of leftist group or a religious preacher, however you should know better and educate yourself before you travel.

    May 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. walkerny

    Alll red diaper lefty Americans that go on to cause trouble in other countries DESERVE jail. Our State Dept should leave them there. Upon release they should be transported to their ideal country: CUBA.

    June 7, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. walkerny

    Parents, PAY ATTENTION to the colleges, curriculum, and professors you expose your children to. Many are aging pony tailed died in the wool Marxists, now masquerading as "progressives." If the college you pick is a hotbed of this type, choose another. The more rigorous the curriculum, the fewer of these clowns will be found.

    June 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. walkerny

    before the left wing spelling cops pounce, yes I know the correct spelling is "dyed"

    June 7, 2010 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mat

    Wow, all the foreign cynics make me sick. So what, she is a terrorist from America.....What was doing? Helping the droves and droves of them in Peru. Turn off the TV and go outside idiots.

    June 7, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
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