Berenson paroled from Peruvian jail


(JTA) — New Yorker Lori Berenson was paroled from a Peruvian jail after spending 15 years behind bars.

Berenson, who was imprisoned for helping leftist rebels in a 1995 plot to overthrow Peru’s Congress, must remain in Peru for the last five years of her sentence, Judge Jessica Leon ordered during court proceedings Tuesday.

Berenson, 40, and her year-old son, who was born in jail and lives there with his mother, will be freed in the coming days, according to reports.

In her ruling, the judge said Berenson had "completed re-education, rehabilitation and re-socialization," and demonstrated "positive behavior." Berenson, who is Jewish, insisted for much of her incarceration that she was a political prisoner.

The former MIT student was convicted of "treason against the fatherland" in 1996 in a secret, non-jury trial and sentenced to life in prison. Berenson’s sentence was reduced to 20 years after she was retried in a civilian court in 2001. 

Her parents, Mark and Rhoda, left their jobs as university professors to advocate on their daughter’s behalf. Thousands of human rights activists campaigned for Berenson’s release. 

Recommended from JTA