NEW YORK —An American woman sentenced to 20 years in a Peru prison for conspiring with a leftist rebel group in the 1990s returned to New York on Thursday, smiling as she walked through the doors at Kennedy Airport with her uncle.

Lori Berenson, 46, has been living quietly in Lima with her 6-year-old son since her 2010 parole because she was barred from leaving the country until her sentenced lapsed. Her son, Salvador, left the airport earlier with his grandparents.

“I’m very grateful to all the people who helped me over the years, and I’m glad to be with my family, thank you very much,” Berenson said. She had no other comment.

Berenson was questioned by federal officials for hours at the New York City airport, but the U.S. ambassador to Peru, Brian Nichols, told reporters that she did not face any charges in the United States.

A daughter of college professors, Berenson dropped out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and headed to Latin America to support leftist movements, working for rebels in El Salvador before traveling to Peru in late 1994.

She was initially convicted of treason in 1996 by a court of hooded military judges and sent for nearly three years to a frigid prison at 12,700 feet altitude, where her health suffered. She was convicted of “collaborating with terrorism” for assisting the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement as it prepared in 1995 to seize Peru’s congress and take lawmakers hostage.

Berenson denies knowledge of the plot, but she rented and lived in the safe house where it was being planned and was arrested with the wife of a rebel leader.

In Peru, she faced hostility to the end. With Salvador in her arms, the single mother sped through Lima’s airport terminal ringed by police. Recognizing her, people shouted, “Get out of here, terrorist!”

Before her departure, Berenson said she still believes, as she declared when arrested, that Tupac Amaru was not a terrorist group. “It could have acted at times using terrorist tactics, but that it was a terrorist organization, I don’t think the label fits.”