North Korea found two U.S. journalists it has held since March guilty of illegal entry and sentenced them to 12 years hard labor, its official KCNA news agency said on Monday.
The journalists, Euna Lee and Laura Ling, of U.S. media outlet Current TV, were arrested while working on a story near the border between North Korea and China. Their trial opened on Thursday.
"The trial confirmed the grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing as they had already been indicted and sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor," KCNA said in a brief dispatch.
There just aren't words to express my anger and frustration for Lee and Ling. Al Gore, whose CurrentTV has remained curiously silent on Lee and Ling's plight, may go to Pyongyang to negotiate for their release:
The United States might send former US vice president Al Gore to Pyongyang in order to negotiate the release of two American journalists on trial in North Korea for illegal entry.
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly did not rule out such a possibility when asked if it would make sense to send Gore, who is chairman of the California station Current TV, which employs the two journalists.
"It's a very, very sensitive issue, I'm not going to go into it," Kelly told reporters who pressed him on the matter.
"This is such a sensitive issue, I'm just not going to go into those kinds of discussions that we may or may not have had," he added when asked whether Gore himself had raised the matter with the State Department.
"The bottom line is that these two young women should be released but I'm not going to go into any kind of details on what we will or won't do," Kelly said when asked again if it would help to send Gore.
The Petition Site has a petition you can sign (and a Facebook group you can join) to ask the State Department to bring Lee and Ling home.