The Associated Press
January 17, 2001

Clinton Urges Peru in Berenson Case


          LIMA, Peru (AP) -- President Clinton has made a last appeal to Peru's
          interim leader ``for a good resolution'' in the case of Lori Berenson, an
          American facing terrorism charges, the government said Wednesday.

          Berenson, a 31-year-old New York native, is facing a civilian retrial on
          charges of collaboration with leftist rebels after receiving a life sentence in
          1996 by a hooded military judge. The military sentence was overturned
          last August.

          Clinton, who is finishing his eight-year-presidency this week, spoke to
          interim President Valentin Paniagua by telephone Tuesday night, said
          Paniagua's press secretary Mario Razzeto.

          He said Clinton told Paniagua ``that before leaving office he was trying to
          show interest one last time in the possibility that judicial powers in Peru
          would use some mechanism to find a good resolution to the case.''

          Clinton did not ask for Berenson's outright release, Razzeto added.

          He said Paniagua assured Clinton that the courts would guarantee a fair
          legal process for Berenson.

          A spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Lima declined to comment

          Berenson, who denies the allegations against her, has been held under
          harsh conditions in Peruvian prisons for more than five years.

          A prosecutor this week urged Peru's Superior Court to try Berenson as a
          ``terrorist collaborator'' for allegedly helping the Tupac Amaru
          Revolutionary Movement plan a thwarted takeover of Peru's Congress.

          That must now be evaluated by a Superior Court prosecutor, who will
          make his own recommendation about the case.

          She was found guilty of treason by a secret military court, which did not
          allow her to cross-examine prosecution witnesses or present an adequate
          legal defense.