Latin America & Caribbean

Peru 'rebel' Lori Berenson to return to US after jail term

Lori Berenson in Lima on 27 November, 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Berenson has lived in Lima with her young son since being released on parole

An American woman who was jailed in Peru 20 years ago for aiding left-wing guerrillas is leaving Peru and returning to the United States.

Lori Berenson, now 46, was found guilty of helping the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) in 1996 and given a 20-year prison sentence.

She was released on parole in 2010 but was barred from leaving Peru for good until her sentence expired.

Berenson said she would travel to New York City to see her family.

Return home

The former inmate said she would live with her parents until she had established herself.

She had previously travelled to the US for a holiday but had returned to Peru under the terms of her parole agreement.

Before leaving Peru for good, she told a local newspaper that she "wanted to express her deep sympathy for the victims of Peru's internal armed conflict, to which I was linked through my collaboration with the MRTA".

Berenson also asked those who "had been affected or offended by my words or deeds for forgiveness".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lori Berenson (right) was arrested when she was 26 years old

Berenson has been living in Lima with her six-year-old son since her release from prison on parole.

She married former MRTA rebel Anibal Apari in jail in 2003 and gave birth to their son Salvador while in prison. The couple are no longer together.

The daughter of university professors from New York, Berenson travelled to Central and South America in the 1990s.

In Peru, she became involved with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA), which robbed banks, kidnapped and killed a number of people in the 1980s and 1990s.

Berenson was arrested in November 1995 and accused of gathering information for a rebel plot to kidnap members of Peru's Congress and exchange them for imprisoned rebel leaders.

She was convicted of treason by a military court in 1996 and initially sentenced to life in prison.

But amid US government pressure, Berenson was retried in a civilian court and found guilty of the lesser crime of terrorist collaboration.

Her 20-year sentence lapsed on Sunday.

More on this story