A sad update to our earlier report of the two U.S. journalists from online media network Current TV who were being detained by the North Korean government after crossing the border between China and North Korea while they were reporting on refugees fleeing poverty. The LA Times reports that Chinese-American Laura Ling and Korean-American Euna Lee have been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in a NK prison.
The pair was sentenced by the top Central Court in Pyongyang – which also rules out the ability to appeal the verdict – in a non-public two-day trial that started Friday as U.S. officials demanded the release of the two women.
In a statement, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said:
“We are deeply concerned by the reported sentencing of the two American citizen journalists by North Korean authorities, and we are engaged through all possible channels to secure their release.”
As NewTeeVee briefly points out, neither Current TV nor its founder Al Gore have so far publicly commented on the situation and the brutal sentence. Now the LA Times says a Japanese TV channel has reported that Gore would be prepared to fly to Pyongyang and secure the women’s freedom (this was depending on the outcome of the trial, but it could have hardly gone any worse than this).