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Peruvian court strikes down parole for American activist

LIMA, Peru - An American activist convicted of aiding leftist rebels surrendered to police Wednesday after a court struck down a decision granting her parole and ordered her to return to prison, where she is to remain with her 15-month-old son for the time being.

Lori Berenson was arrested by police at the U.S. Embassy, where she had been attending a meeting about "consular issues" when she learned of the court's ruling, embassy spokesman James Fennell said.

"She's calm. She is a very strong woman," her husband and lawyer, Anibal Apari, told reporters outside the embassy.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the criminal appeals court was announced two days after the 40-year-old New Yorker appeared at a hearing, apologizing for her crime and asking the court to uphold her parole. Berenson told the court on Monday that she regretted her actions and hoped to focus on raising on her son, Salvador.

Berenson has acknowledged collaborating with the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, but said she was never a member of the group nor involved in violent acts.

She has so far served 15 years of a 20-year prison sentence for terrorist collaboration.

"Even though she disagrees with the court's decision, she has turned herself in," Apari said.

Deputy Justice Minister Luis Marill said the court struck down the May 27 decision that granted her parole - a decision that was widely unpopular in Peru.

Julio Galindo, the government's lead anti-terrorism prosecutor, told Peruvian radio station Radioprogramas the court had annulled the decision until an error is addressed - that Berenson had not promptly notified police of the address where she would live upon her release.

Galindo said that once that error is addressed, the judge, Jessica Leon, would be able to issue a new ruling. He said the process is likely to take about two months and that if the judge decides in Berenson's favor again, she would go free again.

Berenson was initially accused of being a leader of the Tupac Amaru, which bombed banks and kidnapped and killed civilians in the 1980s and 1990s. When she was arrested in November 1995, prosecutors said Berenson was helping plot a takeover of Peru's Congress.

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