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US activist Lori Berenson returns to Peru

Lori Berenson has returned to Peru from a holiday trip to New York well ahead of the court-set deadline for the American convicted of aiding leftist Peruvian rebels in the 1990s, her lawyer said Friday.

Berenson, 42, arrived Thursday night with her 2-year-old son, Salvador, said Anibal Apari, her attorney and the child's father.

Enrique Castro-Mendivil / Reuters

U.S. citizen Lori Berenson declines to speak to the media as she arrives at her house in Lima, January 6.



"She's at home now and is returning to a normal life," Apari told The Associated Press. He and Berenson met in prison and are amicably separated.

A court decision allowing Berenson to visit family in New York stirred controversy in Peru, including the objection of President Ollanta Humala.

Berenson told the AP when she left with Salvador on Dec. 19 that she had every intention of abiding by the court's decision that she must return by Jan. 11.

The 17-day trip was her first outside the country since her 1995 arrest.

Berenson was paroled in 2010 after serving 15 years for acting as an accomplice to terrorism by aiding the Tupac Amaru rebel group.

The former Massachusetts Institute of Technology student, whose parents are college professors, is not permitted to leave Peru permanently until her sentence ends in 2015.

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

The December decision by a three-judge appeals court to allow Berenson to travel overturned a lower court ruling and prompted an outcry among many Peruvians.

"I can't help but show my annoyance, my disappointment at this situation, in which terrorists are being allowed to leave the country while still on parole," Humala said while Berenson was abroad.

Peru's Congress unanimously approved legislation Wednesday night prohibiting courts from allowing trips outside the country for parolees convicted of terrorism.

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The Associated Press and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.