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2001-05-08

Lawyers for Lori Berenson Call for Judge in Case to Step Down, Charging Bias and Links Toperu’s Fugitive Ex-Spy Chief Vladimiro Montesinos

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In Lima, Peru, Lori Berenson, a former graduate student at MIT and long-time activist, is six weeks into her secondtrial on charges that she collaborated with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), a Peruvian guerrillagroup.

Berenson has already served five years of a life sentence handed down by a secret military tribunal in 1996, in atrial widely condemned as unfair by international human rights organizations and the Inter-American Commission onHuman Rights. That conviction was overturned last year after intense international pressure, but Berenson is beingtried again before a civilian court on charges of collaborating with the MRTA, and if convicted faces up to 20 yearsin prison.

Berenson denies the charges, and Berenson’s parents have dedicated their lives to freeing their daughter, widelyregarded abroad as a political prisoner.

Last week, Berenson’s attorney asked the presiding judge in the case to remove himself, accusing him of bias againstLori, but a three judge panel denied the motion. Her trial is expected to wrap up in the next few weeks. We go toher family for the latest.

Guest:

  • Rhoda Berenson, mother of Lori Berenson.

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