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Paroled American Lori Berenson Back In U.S., Plans To Spend Holidays In NYC

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Lori Berenson arrives at Newark Liberty Airport on Dec. 20, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Lori Berenson arrives at Newark Liberty Airport on Dec. 20, 2011 (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Paroled American Lori Berenson is back in the United States for the first time since 1995 when Peruvian authorities arrested her for aiding a rebel group.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

Berenson did not look like a political prisoner as she walked through Newark Liberty International Airport Tuesday morning with her 2-year-old son Salvador in tow.

She declined to speak to reporters, but her mother Rhoda Berenson, says the stress of the case has taken its toll on her grandson.

“The baby has had several incidents of the press really crushing in on him,” she said.

Berenson was allowed to leave Peru in order to spend the holidays with her family in New York City.

“This is not a political time. This is a time for family, friends and holidays,” her mother said.

Berenson had admitted helping the Tupac Amaru rebel group rent a safe house where authorities seized a cache of weapons after a shootout with the rebels. She insists she didn’t know guns were stored there and says she never joined the group.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reports

Berenson was paroled last year after serving 15 years on an accomplice to terrorism conviction.

She was initially kept in Peru for not having the proper paperwork.

But with the assistance of U.S. embassy personnel, Berenson successfully boarded a Continental Airlines flight Monday in the Peruvian capital of Lima.

She must return to Peru by Jan. 11, 2012.

By law, she must remain in Peru until her full sentence lapses unless President Ollanta Humala decides to commute it.

Anibal Apari, Berenson’s lawyer, is Salvador’s father. He is amicably separated from Berenson, whom he met in prison.

Some Peruvians still consider her a terrorist. She had been insulted in the street, and news media have repeatedly hounded and mobbed her.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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