Laura Ling & Euna Lee Get 12 Years!

Well, this isn’t good at all.

Breaking News: North Korea Sentences 2 US Journalists To 12 Years In Jail

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said its top court convicted two U.S. journalists and sentenced them to 12 years in labor prison Monday, intensifying the reclusive nation’s confrontation with the United States.

The North’s Central Court tried American TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee during proceedings running from last Thursday to Monday and found them guilty of a “grave crime” against the nation, and of illegally crossing into North Korea, the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said.

It said the court “sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor.” The KCNA report gave no other details.

Reporters Without Borders doesn’t didn’t have anything up, just the page with the link wherein they are joining with the International Women’s Media Foundation in petitioning the North Korean government for their release.

Update: Here’s a bit of background on how Ling & Lee got into N. Korea.

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4 Responses

  1. None of the articles written about this incident in the press clearly explains how Laura Ling and Euna Lee managed to enter N. Korea without visa or proper documents. And why would two sane women enter N. Korea, knowing very well that it is run by ruthless military fanatics? What were they trying to prove? Their action simply doesn’t make much sense. And consider the strange but shocking facts: 1. The USA has held hundreds of detainees without charging them of any crimes for over seven years in Guantanamo prisons, and even torturing many of them. 2. N. Korea has sentenced two US reporters to twelve years of hard labor for entering the county illegally. Which of the two sentences, do you think, is harsher?
    Yesh Prabhu, Plainsboro, NJ

  2. Which of the two sentences, do you think, is harsher? Is this a trick question? Pretty close to being 6 of one, half-dozen of another.

    The Seattle-Times had an editorial last month in which they referenced how Ling & Lee “managed” to get into North Korea.

    The U.S. ought to exploit the same intense interest North Korea has for more dialogue to secure release of two reporters for a California TV station being held on unspecified criminal charges. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were covering North Korean immigrants along the Chinese border, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Pyongyang claims they entered North Korea illegally.

  3. These ladies had to know the risk they were taking. They had no business being along or on that border without proper documents.

  4. I’m not sure if they realized they were “along or on that border.” I would think they’d might have had some idea it wouldn’t be all that safe. Until we hear from them directly we’re missing part of the story.

    And somehow your comment lends me to believe you’re blaming the victim. One thing too about journalism is accessing information and presenting it to the public – that’s part of a free society, specifically ours. Yours?

    From Reporters Without Borders (one of the links provided in the post)

    “The two journalists, who work for the California-based web television station Current TV, had approached the border from inside China in order to cover the trafficking of North Korean women across the border. Their guide is being held by the Chinese authorities. Ling is of Chinese origin and Lee is of Korean origin.”

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