Latin American Herald Tribune
November 13, 2010

Lori Berenson: No Justification for Terrorism and Violence

LIMA – The American Lori Berenson, sentenced for the crime of collaborating with terrorists and who last Monday was again allowed out on parole, said in an interview published Saturday that “there is no justification for terrorism and violence.”

Berenson, who has done almost 15 years in jail of the 20 to which she was sentenced for collaborating with armed rebels, apologized once more in an interview and expressed her wish to start her life anew together with the son she had in prison.

“I committed a crime, I got mixed up in a subversive project with terrorist ideas. I never killed anyone. My intention was to bring about a positive change. But I definitely erred and I apologize for that,” she said in an interview published this Saturday in the local daily La Republica.

The American woman acknowledged that when she arrived in Peru she knew “very little” about the South American country, but with time she learned “many things.”

Berenson said that she is trying to change the image that many Peruvians have of her: “I was sentenced for collaboration, not for being as dangerous as my image indicates. I’m no danger, I’m a normal person.”

The case of Lori Berenson – sentenced for collaboration with the terrorist group known as the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement – has aroused a great deal of indignation in recent months among politicians, the media and citizens, with very few defending her right to rehabilitation and a return to society.

While the appeals presented against her being allowed out on parole could take two or three weeks for the court to decide, the U.S. citizen told how she lives her life from day to day, and the impossibility of making plans for the future.

“I’m on hold. I have a job and I’m doing a distance learning course, that’s all. But I can’t organize my life, I just take it one day at a time,” she said.

About her son, who will soon be three years old, an age when he cannot be with her in jail, Berenson said: “If I go back to prison, I lose him for four or five years, and that is very hard.”