Peru: Berenson is harassed, Fujimori seeks pardon

After a three-day delay, Peruvian authorities finally allowed US citizen Lori Berenson to leave Lima on Dec. 19 for a brief visit to her family in New York. A court had ruled earlier in the month that she could visit the US with her young son until Jan. 11; Berenson has been living in Lima on parole since May 2010 after serving almost 15 years of a 20-year sentence for collaborating with the leftist rebels of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA). Berenson’s first attempt to leave was blocked by immigration authorities at the Lima airport on Dec. 16, repeating a pattern of harassment and judicial irregularities that have marked her case since she was arrested in 1995. (AP, Dec. 20)

Berenson’s effort to visit her family after serving 15 years in prison for nonviolently supporting a rebel group has attracted much more media attention in the US than a concurrent campaign by right-populist former president Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000) to win a humanitarian pardon after serving just four years of a 25-year sentence for crimes that included the deaths of 25 people, two kidnappings, corruption and illicit enrichment. On Dec. 17 Fujimori’s attorney, César Nakazaki, announced that the process of seeking a pardon on health grounds had already started and that a medical team would be releasing its findings on the physical condition of the 72-year-old former president, who seized dictatorial powers with a “self-coup” in 1992. (Notimex, Dec. 17, via Univision)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 18.

See our last post on Peru.