Statements   |   North Korea, USA

North Korea sentences U.S. journalists to 12 years

We released this statement today after a North Korean court found U.S. journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling guilty of entering the country illegally and carrying out “hostile acts, sentencing the Current TV reporters to terms of 12 years hard labor.

"Euna Lee and Laura Ling are journalists who were doing their jobs reporting on an important humanitarian story. It is deplorable that they have been tried as criminals and sentenced so harshly," said Bob Dietz, CPJ’ Asia program coordinator. "We fear that their detention is linked to the ongoing security situation on the Korean Peninsula and we call on all parties to the Six Party Talks--North and South Korea, China, Japan, Russia, and the United States--to work together for their release."

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Why isn't Current TV covering this story about their own journalists? When The Christian Science Monitor's journalist Jill Carroll was detained in Iraq they provided the public with ongoing information and created a special feature following her release:

The U.S. needs to be careful about what speculations they make about North Korea and their plans with the two U.S. journalists. Aggravating North Korea could result in harsher conditions for the two woman than originally planned. ABC news expert agrees/comments:

My concern is that if they are not released soon, and do serve time in hard labor - they will never be released. North Korea would never allow outsiders to experience the horrors of the labor camps and then free them to write and speak openly of the brutal experience. They would never be allowed to expose what they endured.

@Joe - This is so true! I have the same fear. I hope many will pray for their release and hopefully there will be a positive change in the leadership of this country soon.

This is so very sad what happens there.

Perhaps an argument for their inadvertent crossing of the border would be that they have family in the USA, and what mother with a little daughter would freely cross a border of a country such as North Corea?