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.
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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.
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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.
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