Lori Berenson a NYC native dropped out of MIT in the 1980s to become a leftist political activist in El Salvador. In her own words:
"I believed that the Salvadorian people's right to express themselves in their own organisations or in the guerrillas was legitimate in that there was no other way to change what for them was unjust,"
In El Salvador, she was the private secretary
to the top rebel leader during peace negotiations
with the government
. There are rumours that she rented a house in 1995
as a hide-out
for the Tupac Amaru rebels
. She was just 26 years old when she was sentenced to life
for helping to plan a terrorist attack
on Peru's congress
. It's a crime she says she did not commit.
“The charges against me are preposterous and they're obviously false, I am not a terrorist by any means; quite the contrary I do not believe in any act of terrorism."
Despite the conviction
Benson still sees a need for change
in both Peru
and El Salvador
"I believe in human beings, I believe in the rights of justice. I believe that everyone has the right to live with dignity."