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Tuesday, February 21

Looking down your nose at Peru

Lori Through the Looking Glass by Dr. Nicholas Birns of New School University (New York) for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs takes a US left-wing look at the Lori Berensen case and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decision to not reverse her conviction. Birns subscribes this reversal to pressure put on the court by the Peruvian government:

"Through the middle to later part of November (2004), Peruvian politicians and the press repeatedly stirred the public, saying that a favorable ruling for Berenson would result in automatic changes in the Peruvian justice system that would then enable the release of hundreds of dangerous Shining Path and Tupac Amaru terrorists. Letters to that effect were also sent to the Inter-American Court. Yet during this same period, the court also tried the case of a pediatrician who already had served a sentence for terrorism, released, and then years later rearrested after performing hand surgery on a known terrorist. The medical doctor was again acquitted by a unanimous vote of the Court, with no demurral from the Peruvian government or media."
And for that matter, the Court also made the Peruvian government retry Sendero's founder and mastermind Abimael Guzman and hundreds of other SL and MRTA members, as well as others convicted in military tribunals -- so much for the Court buckling under pressure.

With the Peruvian situation receiving so little attention from the outside world and Lori's case being worthy of public discussion, I find it hard to lambast any publication about the country. However, the snooty, "holier-than-thou" tone of this article and its self-serving interpretation of events does poor service to Lori and Peru in general.

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