Monday, June 08, 2009

U.S. Journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee Get 12 Years of Hard Labor in North Korea

Laura Ling and Euna Lee have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korea. The women are the television reporters for Al Gore's Current TV who were charged with illegal border crossing and spying back in April.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has called the charges "absolutely without merit or foundation."

Laura Ling and Euna Lee were convicted of "hostilities against the Korean nation and illegal entry." Unless the Obama Administration is able to negotiate their swift release, the young women face a very harsh future:

Based on its own studies of the North Korean penal system, [Amnesty International] said that prisoners are often forced to work 10 hours or more a day, with no rest days, performing demanding work that can include logging and stone quarrying. Beatings are not infrequent, even for forgetting the words to patriotic songs. Food, hygienic conditions and medical care are poor, taking a toll on prisoners’ health, Amnesty said.