Lori Berenson to Be Released Monday: Peru - NBC New York

Lori Berenson to Be Released Monday: Peru

40-year-old New Yorker must stay in country until her sentence ends unless Peru's president commutes it



    A New Yorker who has been locked up in a Peruvian prison for nearly 20 years was released from prison tonight. Lori Berenson?s parents told News Four's DeMarco Morgan the road to freedom is far from over for their controversial daughter. (Published Friday, Nov. 5, 2010)

    Convicted rebel collaborator Lori Berenson will go free on Monday, Peruvian officials say.

    The 40-year-old New York woman was paroled in May after serving nearly 15 years in prison. But a court reincarcerated Berenson in August on a technicality -- and she took along her now 18-month-old son.

    The same judge who initially paroled Berenson reinstated it Friday.

    Berenson cannot leave Peru until her 20-year sentence ends -- unless Peru's president commutes it.

    Prisons spokeswoman Janet Sanchez said Saturday that the agency was still awaiting the documents needed to release her.

    President Alan Garcia told CNN broadcast in September that while he understands many Peruvians feel Berenson should complete her 20-year term, he personally has sympathy for the activist and her 16-month-old son, Salvador.

    "How much can Peru really fear a woman who spent 15 years in prison?" Garcia said. "She has a little boy, and that moves me a lot."

    She "is not a threat to Peru. That's over. It's part of the past," he added.

    Garcia said factors including relations with Washington and U.S. public opinion must be weighed in the case. He did not say when he might issue a decision on commutation but has indicated in the past that he wanted to wait for the judicial process to run its course.

    Berenson's attorney Anibal Apari, who is also Salvador's father, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the judge who ordered her paroled has now received police verification of Berenson's domicile.

    Berenson was returned to prison based on prosecutors' arguments that her attorneys did not quickly inform police of where she would live once paroled.

    Berenson was arrested in 1995 and accused of helping Tupac Amaru rebels plan an attack on Peru's Congress.

    A military court sentenced her to life in prison for treason but, following international pressure, she was retried and convicted in 2001 by a civilian court on the lesser charge of collaborating with terrorism.