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The Heartbreaking Story of Laura Ling and Euna Lee

North Korea is releasing details on the capture, arrest, and conviction of Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the two American journalists working for Al Gore’s Current TV.  An excerpt:

SEOUL, South Korea  —  Two American journalists sentenced in Pyongyang last week to 12 years’ hard labor were detained in North Korean territory after crossing into the country illegally, state-run media said Tuesday, providing the first details about the circumstances of their arrest.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee of Current TV were taken into custody on the North Korean banks of the Tumen River after crossing over from China illegally three months ago, the official Korean Central News Agency said.

The women, tried in North Korea’s highest court earlier this month, “admitted and accepted” their punishment of 12 years’ hard labor for committing politically motivated “criminal acts,” the report said.

“The accused admitted that what they did were criminal acts committed, prompted by the political motive to isolate and stifle the socialist system of the DPRK by faking up moving images aimed at falsifying its human rights performance and hurling slanders and calumnies at it,” it said.

The “confessions” are of course, bogus, but it soes sound like the two journalists had entered illegally into North Korea.  The family is saying that the two had “no intention” of crossing into North Korea, which at least suggests the North Koreans didn’t just swoop over the border and take these two hostage.

Eventually Al Gore and the other suits at Current TV will have to answer the question of what, exactly, they told these journalists to do. If Gore and Co. sent these two women into the lion’s den, so to speak, unprepared, they’re responsible for what’s happening now.  And if the reporters did go into North Korea on their own, then their bravery needs to be commended, but this does outline the risks of trying to report on a country that’s run by a genocidal maniac.

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