thursday, december 02, 2004
The Lori Berenson AffairIn 1995, an American woman in her late 20's was arrested by Peruvian police as she stepped off a bus in Lima. Since that day she has been imprisoned on charges of assisting terrorists and her plight has become the center of a political firestorm over human rights.
Yesterday, Lori Berenson's final appeal before an international human rights court was turned down. She now will not be released from prison until the end of her 20-year sentence in 2015.
The decision (the last entry on the page) by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights brings to an end the judicial options open to Berenson but it is almost certain that her family and supporters will continue to push for her release through political means.
Peruvian's see the case as an example of a terrorist collaborator who was caught and deserves punishment. Berenson's supporters say it is, instead, an example of justice gone awry and that she is being made a scapegoat for political purposes. The ruling seems to have polarized people on one side and on the other.
Since these events occurred prior to the 9/11 attacks, the case that precedes the high emotions the issue of terrorism evokes in the minds of people today. At first her case seemed to be an issue of an American citizen whose human rights were being violated. Today, that is not so clear.
You can read my story about the outcome of the case in Newsday as well as a story I penned for The Washington Times about what Peru felt was at stake in the days prior to the verdict being announced.
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