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American Inmate Lori Berenson Released

Posted by Marco Antonio Mendoza Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's been 14 years since American Lori Berenson was arrested in Peru on charges of terrorism (1995).  She was convicted by the Peruvian Court in a closed military proceeding for collaborating with the MTRA (Tupac Amaru Revolution Movement) terrorist group.  She would then spend the next years in several prisons across the country before being transferred to the Santa Monica Women's Maximum Security Prison located in the district of Chorrillos (one of many districts that make up the capital city Lima).  Her transfer to Santa Monica was made just 5 years ago when she became pregnant (by her fellow terrorist buddy/husband/lawyer/ex-husband, now good friend) and needed to be transferred for the delivery and a back surgery. 



In the above video you will notice that she seems to be smiling and why wouldn't she be after being incarcerated for over 14 years she is finally going to breathe some fresh air be able to live outside the confines of a prison. 



Today the past came back for me as I was heading to teach an English class in the southern district of Lurin, while driving along the Av. Huaylas in Chorrillos (this is the quickest path which is taken to get from Miraflores to Lurin).  As my taxi drove past the Santa Monica prison my attention was diverted by the comment of my fellow co-worker who pointed out the large presence of news reporters quickly surrounding the prison perimeter.  That's when the driver mentioned that the American Lori Berenson was to be released on parole following a recent ruling, which would grant Berenson the opportunity of parole under the supervision of the Peruvian police (something similar to what is practiced in the US for regular convicts.  Good luck flying that option for convicted terrorists in the US). 

It's interesting to realize how quickly time goes by when your not serving a 20 year conviction for collaborating with terrorists.  While Berenson's release date is still set for 2015 I can already see a best-seller New York Times book in the works (How I Survived My Peruvian Imprisonment), which will later be followed by her Lifetime Channel made for TV movie: "The Lori Berenson Story".  For the meantime, she will apparently be able to rent her own apartment in Miraflores and will be expected to comply every 30 days with mandatory progress checks and will be prohibited from consuming alcohol and drugs and cannot leave the country until she has served her time.  Unfortunately for Berenson the residents of Miraflores aren't too thrilled with the idea of having a terrorist live in their district and have even staged candle light vigils to honor those who were killed in the terrorist attack which happened on the Av. Tarata in 1992 which killed several people.  The people of Miraflores have stated that they want Ms. Berenson to be extradited to the US to fulfill the remainder of her sentence and have asked the Peruvian government to take action.







As if things weren't bad enough for Berenson the media has already disclosed the location of her soon to be Miraflores residence, while interviewing her future residents as to their opinions towards living next to a convicted terrorist.  The general consensus is that they are not in favor of the idea and I wouldn't blame them either.



Of course with the controversy over the courts decision to give Berenson parole all the political candidates in the midst of elections have taken the opportunity to jump all over this topic like piranhas on a bleeding animal.  Nothing helps a politicians appearance more than getting behind the public and criticizing the government for their decisions as you can see from the below videos.



Here is a link to an article from MSNBC which goes into a little more detail about the ordeal 

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A travel blog about living abroad in Lima, Peru and my travels to cities like Cuzco and Machu Picchu. Inti Aperture is a blog about travel, Peruvian food, culture, adventure, jobs, tourism, travel, news, teaching English, photography, and living abroad, making it a perfect resource for the traveling expat.
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