September 25, 2003

Berenson needs stand-in groom at Peru jail wedding

LIMA, Peru (Reuters) --Lori Berenson, a New Yorker serving 20 years in a northern
Peru prison on terrorism charges, will need her future father-in-law to stand in for her
fiance when she ties the knot there in a couple of weeks, her lawyer said on Thursday.

Husband-to-be Anibal Apari has recently been freed from jail on parole after
serving 12 1/2 years of a 15-year sentence as a member of the Tupac Amaru
Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA. But his parole conditions prevent him
from leaving Lima.

"(Apari) is going to grant his father legal power to represent him at the
ceremony," Jose Sandoval told Reuters.

Berenson, who turns 34 in November and was briefly married to a Salvadoran,
was jailed for life in 1996 after a summary military trial convicted her as an
MRTA leader.

That sentence was overturned in 2000, and a civil retrial last year sentenced her
to 20 years for the lesser crime of terrorist collaboration. She says she is
innocent of all charges.

Apari, a 40-year-old law student, told Reuters a wedding date had been set,
but would only say: "I'm getting married in under two weeks."

He said he was seeking special permission to travel to the Cajamarca jail 530
miles (850 km) away, but has had no reply.

Berenson and Apari met in 1997 when they were both jailed in the Yanamayo
prison high in the Andes.

She is due for release two weeks after her 46th birthday, unless Latin
America's top rights court orders her freed or retried.

Apari says he will wait. "Lori is sentenced to 20 years but I'm sure international
justice will free her sooner ... I'm being patient," he told Reuters in an interview
last week.

Copyright 2003 Reuters.