MSNBC is reporting that North Korea’s top court has convicted two U.S. journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, and sentenced them to 12 years in labor prison.
The Central Court tried American TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee and confirmed their unspecified “grave crime” against the nation, and of illegally crossing into North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency said.
It said the court — which tried the women from June 4 to 8 — “sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor.” The report gave no other details.
Ling and Lee, who have been working for former Vice President Al Gore’s California-based Current TV, were arrested on March 17 on the China/North Korean border as they worked on a report. It’s unclear if they actually did stray into the North and the circumstances surrounding their arrest and trial have been shrouded in secrecy.
The women cannot appeal the conviction because they were tried in North Korea’s highest court where decisions are final.
This news is no doubt devastating for Ling and Lee and their families. As a parent I can’t imagine the pain in seeing your child go through an ordeal like this, and my heart breaks for Lee’s 4-year-old daughter, Hannah, who is waiting at home and has no idea her mother is being detained. “She still thinks mommy is at work,” said Lee’s husband, Michael Saldate.