American Journalists Sentenced to Twelve Years Hard Labor in North Korea

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South Korean protesters rally in support of Ling and Lee. Photo: Getty Images

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, journalists for Al Gore's independent media network Current TV, were found guilty of "committing hostilities against the Korean nation and illegal entry" by North Korea's highest court this morning. The pair was arrested along the Chinese border on March 17, though the United States vehemently denies any wrongdoing. The verdict is the latest step in a confrontation that North Korea sees itself building with the entire U.S. Earlier today, the country threatened "extreme measures" if the United Nations moved to sanction them for their nuclear test last month. The Obama administration is publicly considering putting the nation back on its terrorist list, and is also weighing intercepting sea and air shipments from the country that may contain weapons or nuclear technology. In the past, North Korea has said it views such moves as acts of war. The verdict in the Lee and Ling case was even harsher than some critics expected, and conditions in the labor camps where the pair will be imprisoned are reported to be grueling. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has demanded that the government release the two women, and the Times reports that will likely occur, but not before Washington sends a prominent envoy to the nation.

N. Korea Sentences 2 U.S. Journalists to 12 Years of Hard Labor [NYT]