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File #: Res 1548-2000    Version: * Name: Peruvian Gov't to release Lori Berenson
Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Committee: Parks, Recreation, Cultural Affairs, and International Intergroup Relations
On agenda: 9/27/2000
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the Peruvian government to immediately release Lori Berenson from captivity and allow her to return to the United States, and in the event, that such request is ignored or denied, calling upon the appropriate Committee of the City Council to convene and discuss potential legislative remedies.
Sponsors: Herbert E. Berman, Victor L. Robles, Martin Malave-Dilan, Kathryn E. Freed, Margarita Lopez, Stanley E. Michels, Eva S. Moskowitz, Bill Perkins, Philip Reed, Lawrence A. Warden, Michael J. Abel, Martin J. Golden, Stephen DiBrienza, Kenneth K. Fisher, Wendell Foster, Guillermo Linares, Walter L. McCaffrey, Jerome X. O'Donovan, Annette M. Robinson, Thomas White, Priscilla A. Wooten
Council Member Sponsors: 21
Date Ver.Prime SponsorAction ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsMultimedia
9/27/2000*Herbert E. Berman City Council Approved, by CouncilPass Action details Meeting details Not available
9/27/2000*Herbert E. Berman City Council Introduced by Council, IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION  Action details Meeting details Not available
Res. No. 1548 Title Resolution calling upon the Peruvian government to immediately release Lori Berenson from captivity and allow her to return to the United States, and in the event, that such request is ignored or denied, calling upon the appropriate Committee of the City Council to convene and discuss potential legislative remedies. Body By Council Members Berman, Robles, Malave-Dilan, Freed, Lopez, Michels, Moskowitz, Perkins, Reed, Warden, Abel and Golden; also Council Members DiBrienza, Fisher, Foster, Linares, McCaffrey, O'Donovan, Robinson, White and Wooten Whereas, On November 30, 1995, Peruvian authorities arrested Lori Berenson, a United States citizen and resident of New York, on charges of terrorism for allegedly collaborating with MRTA rebels on a planned attack of the Peruvian Congress; and Whereas, Ms. Berenson was subsequently convicted by a secret military tribunal in January, 1996, whereby she was found guilty of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment in Peru; and Whereas, The military tribunal that sentenced Ms. Berensen failed to provide her any due process safeguards afforded in a normal civil legal proceeding, including the opportunity to have a trial, present evidence, offer testimony in her own defense or cross-examine any witnesses; and Whereas, In her five years in captivity, Ms. Berenson, now thirty years old, has been subjected to harsh and debilitating conditions causing her numerous physical ailments; and Whereas, In December 1998, after nearly three years of fact-finding, missions to Peru, and a visit with Ms. Berensen in Yanamayo Prison, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights issued an opinion which states that Lori Berensen has been deprived of her liberty arbitrarily and that the Peruvian government is in violation of articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which Peru is a signatory; and Whereas, In a 1999 report issued by the Unites States Department of State, Peru's human rights record was deemed poor in such areas as the protection of civil and political rights, the lack of accountability within the armed forces, particularly regarding counter-terrorist operations, overall prison conditions and judicial due process; and Whereas, Ever since her arrest, Ms. Berensen has denied that she ever collaborated with insurgent rebels or participated in violent acts; and Whereas, On August 28, 2000, Peru's highest military court overturned Ms. Berensen's life sentence stating that there was new evidence that she was not a rebel leader with the MRTA; and Whereas, While the decision clears the way for a new trial in an open civilian court, under lesser charges for treason, serious doubts remain whether the Peruvian government will afford her the necessary due process requirements that have already resulted in Ms. Berensen's sub-standard incarceration for the past five years, now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the Peruvian government immediately release Lori Berenson from captivity and allow for her return to the United States, and in the event, that such request is ignored or denied, calling upon the appropriate Committee of the City Council to convene and discuss potential legislative remedies. LS #3455 Afn