North Korea Indicts U.S. Reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling

Friday, May 15, 2009
Laura Ling

The two American journalists from Current TV, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, who were arrested in North Korea on March 17th, are now facing trial in early June. The women have been indicted on charges of illegally entering the country and for committing “hostile acts.” They had been working an assignment about the Tumen River on the Chinese and North Korean border, which is used by North Korean refugees fleeing their homeland. The details of their arrest are mired in controversy, as there is ambiguity as tp whether or not they had illegally crossed the North Korean border.

According to the South Korean network YTN and the Taipei Times, North Korean guards crossed the Tumen River into Chinese territory to kidnap Ling and Lee. However, the North Korean news agency KCNA, claims the reporters were arrested on North Korean territory. "Our related agency has decided to turn the U.S. reporters over for trial based on findings of their crimes," KCNA reported. Although the North Korean government has not stated what charges it will press, the Associated Press has reported that the journalists could receive up to five years in prison if convicted of espionage.
Since the 1990s, at least three Americans have been held by North Korea and all were eventually released after negotiations. This has led observers to speculate that the regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il intends to use Lee and Lang as bargaining chips to gain aid or other concessions.
            -Jenny Kim
Detained U.S. Journalists to Face Trial in N. Korea (by Blaine Harden, Washington Post)
Media Held Hostage: Will Obama Respond? (by Joshua Stanton, New Ledger)
North Korea Decides to Indict 2 U.S. Reporters (by Choe Sang-Hun, New York Times)


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