Lori Berenson MejiaCase
The facts of the case relate to the arrest and subsequent prosecution pursuant to Peruvian anti-terrorist legislation by a “faceless” military court and with restrictions to Lori Helene Berenson Mejía’s right to defense. The victim was condemned to a life sentence for the crime of treason. As a result of the defense’s filing of a motion for special review, the verdict was quashed and the case transferred to the ordinary criminal court. Ultimately, Lori Berenson’s responsibility for the crime of collaborating with terrorists was established and she was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment.
The IA Court considered that the context in which the events developed correspond to the period when Peru experienced a conflict between armed groups and military and police officers, during the 80s and towards the end of 2000. This conflict was exacerbated by a systematic practice of human rights violations, among them extrajudicial executions and forced disappearances of people suspected of belonging to opposition political groups, which were carried out by State agents following orders of police and military leaders.
The IA Court commented on the detention conditions suffered by the victim (prolonged isolation, coercive solitary confinement, poor diet, poor sanitary conditions, restrictions on her visitation rights and deficient medical attention, amongst others), which was considered as cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment in violation of the American Convention. The IA Court reiterated the components relating to the need to observe the principle of legality in the formulation of criminal definitions and the illegality of military criminal jurisdiction in crimes committed by civilians due to the breach of the right to a natural judge and due process, both guarantees associated with the right to access to justice.
- Presentation to the IACommission
- Jan 22, 1998
- Submission to the IACourt
- Jul 19, 2002
- Antiterrorism law
- Detention conditions
- Military jurisdiction
- Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
- Court documents
- Documentos de la comisión