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Lori Berenson arrives in U.S. after 16 years

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
updated 8:58 AM EST, Tue December 20, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Lori Berenson arrived at Newark Tuesday morning
  • A first attempt to leave Peru was blocked Friday
  • She has to return to Peru by January 11
  • She is on parole as part of a 20-year sentence for terrorism

(CNN) -- Lori Berenson, the American activist convicted of aiding terrorists in Peru, arrived in the United States Tuesday morning for the first time since her 1995 arrest.

Berenson arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport just past 7:30 a.m. An hour later, she emerged from the terminal pushing a luggage cart and with her 2-1/2-year-old son at her side.

She exited the terminal without saying a word to reporters and boarded a waiting sedan with her mother and drove off.

A previous attempt by Berenson, currently on parole, to visit the United States for the holidays was foiled Friday because she lacked some paperwork.

She will spend the holidays with her family in New York.

Last week, Berenson's lawyer, Anibal Apari, called the decision to block her from leaving as "arbitrary," and said he wanted to get to the bottom of who gave the order.

But a Peruvian immigration official later said that Berenson lacked a document from his office, which she received Monday, the state-run Andina news agency reported.

Berenson was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 for collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement to attack the nation's Congress and overthrow the government. Her sentence was reduced to 20 years on appeal.

She was released from Lima's Chorrillos Penitentiary in November 2010 after a Peruvian court granted her parole. As a parolee, Berenson must remain in Peru until at least 2015.

Under the travel terms set by her immigration paperwork, Berenson, 42, has to return to Peru by January 11.

In 2009, while in prison, Berenson gave birth to a son who was fathered by Apari, her estranged husband who is also her attorney. The boy lived with her in prison until her release.

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