'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Lori Berenson 

Peru says it won't release Lori Berenson even if the Inter-American Human Rights Court decides that she didn't receive a fair trial in 2001. Here's the AP:

Peru will not abide by an international human rights court ruling supporting the release of Lori Berenson, a New York woman imprisoned for collaborating with Marxist guerrillas, the country's foreign minister said, according to news reports Saturday.

The Inter-American Human Rights Court, the Costa Rica-based legal arm of the Organization of American States, is scheduled to deliberate Berenson's case Nov. 24-25 to decide whether she received a fair civilian retrial in 2001. Peru is an OAS member.

"If this error were made, the Peruvian state, with legal justification, would take the position of not liberating any person accused of terrorism," several newspapers quoted Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez saying Friday from Santiago, Chile, where he attended the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

"In no case would any disposition be observed that recommends freedom of people accused of terrorism in Peru."

I found the AP's explanation for Peru's refusal to release Berenson interesting:

Her case is a touchy issue for President Alejandro Toledo, who has vowed that "no accused or convicted terrorist" will be released on his watch. [ ... ] Political analysts say that with his approval rating hovering around 10 percent, Toledo does not want to be labeled by opponents as soft on terrorism - particularly after the embarrassing collapse last week of a civilian retrial against Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman and his top rebel commanders.

Here's the BBC on Guzman's trial.

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