Reporters Get Twelve Year Terms in North Korea

Posted:

Two United States journalists, who were detained in North Korea while covering the plight of defectors living along the China-North Korea border, have been sentenced to labor prison for 12 years, said the country’s state-run media on Monday.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced by the Central Court of North Korea for the “grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border s,” said the Korean Central News Agency.

Because of this, the court gave each journalist a 12-year sentence “of reform through labor,” meaning they will be in a labor prison serving their sentence.

A United States State Department spokesman, Ian Kelley, said the Swedish ambassador in North Korea confirmed the sentence with North Korean authorities. United States’ interests in North Korea are represented through Sweden because the United States has no formal diplomatic relations with North Korea.

“We are deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities, and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release,” Kelley said in a statement. “We once again urge North Korea to grant the immediate release of the two American citizen journalists on humanitarian grounds.”

On learning of the reports, President Obama shared his concern through White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton. “The president is deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities, and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release,” said Burton.

The trial began on Thursday, even though Ling and Lee were taken into custody March 17. They are reporters for former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s Current TV. The only news released about the trial was through state media in the isolated communist nation.

The Swedish ambassador relayed information that there were no observers allowed to be present at the trial. The reporters did have a defense attorney, but that attorney’s name is unknown.

Several senior administration officials said the idea of sending either Gore or New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to Pyongyang, in order to attempt to secure the journalists’ release, has been mentioned.

North Korea charged the reporters with illegal entry into the country, “hostile acts” and spying.

 

Bookmark This Article:
| del.icio.us: Delicious | Digg: Digg | Technorati: Technorati | Newsvine: Seed this article | Reddit: Add to Reddit | Furl: Add to furl | |
| Stumble Upon: Stumble This Article | Yahoo!: YahooMyWeb | Google: Google |

 

Legal•Info: Related Articles


Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function similar_posts() in /home/legalinfo/public_html/legal-news/wp-content/themes/default/single.php:125 Stack trace: #0 /home/legalinfo/public_html/legal-news/wp-includes/template-loader.php(78): include() #1 /home/legalinfo/public_html/legal-news/wp-blog-header.php(19): require_once('/home/legalinfo...') #2 /home/legalinfo/public_html/legal-news/index.php(17): require('/home/legalinfo...') #3 {main} thrown in /home/legalinfo/public_html/legal-news/wp-content/themes/default/single.php on line 125