Lori Berenson Released in Peru
This was great news to wake up to this morning.
A Peruvian court granted parole on Tuesday to Lori Berenson, a U.S. citizen who served 15 years of a 20-year prison sentence in Peru for aiding leftist guerrillas during the dark days of the country's civil war.
She was imprisoned in 1995 after being pulled off a bus in Lima and charged with being a leader of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement or MRTA, a leftist insurgency active in Peru in the 1980s and 1990s.
Her family always maintained that she was unfairly convicted and never took up arms during the period of social unrest in the Andean nation.
In hindsight, Berenson was one of the first victims of state anti-terrorism hysteria in the Americas. (Some friends of mine made a superb documentary exploring the way that Peru was affected, legally, politically and psychologically, because of the Tupac Amaru movement and Fujimori's adroit manipulation of it. It's called State of Fear. Well worth checking out.)
Berenson was a political activist, certainly. And she had friends in the Peruvian leftist movement. But it was right-wing fueled terrorism hysteria, not evidence, that got her convicted and sentenced to life by a hooded closed door kangaroo court in 1995.
I wonder how long it will take us to free the Berensons languishing in Guantanamo. And whether it will take 15 years before John Walker Lindh's case is reconsidered.