Home Two Current TV Journalists Sentenced to 12 Years in North Korean Labor Camp

Two Current TV Journalists Sentenced to 12 Years in North Korean Labor Camp

About two months ago, we reported that two Current TV journalists, Laura Link and Euna Lee had been detained in North Korea on March 17. Today, we received the sad news that North Korea’s Central Court found both reporters guilty of “a grave crime against the nation” and illegally crossing the border into North Korea. Link and Lee have been sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp. This sentence, of course, comes at a time when US-North Korean relations are already tense. The U.S. government says that it is ‘deeply concerned’ about this verdict.

The Bad News

According to a New York Times report from March, Link and Lee were arrested by North Korean border guards near the China-North Korean border after interviewing North Korean refugees in Chinese border towns. During the trip, the two journalists must have entered North Korean territory – though it is not clear if they tried to enter North Korea deliberately or if this was an accident. As Slate’s, Nina Shen Rastogi, reported last month when the trial of Link and Lee began, we know very little about how the Central Court, which handles all “grievous cases against the state,” really works, though we do know that rulings from the Central Court can not be appealed and that legal education is not a required qualification for being elected as a judge.

The (Potentially) Good News

The Washington Post, however, also reports that several North Korea experts predict that the U.S. government (or an intermediary) and North Korea will soon begin talks to negotiate the release. Chances are that North Korea will try to use the two as pawns to negotiate with the U.S.

So far, Current TV has not publicly commented on this situation.

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