Thursday, June 4, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee stood trial today

Just like I mentioned in the previous post about the stand off between the North and South Korean navies, isn't it also a coincidence that Kim Jong Il would have the trial on the two journalists the exact same day that Obama gives his big speech in Cairo? Kim Jong Il is doing everything he can to push Obama's button, and in this case to try and divert attention from his speech to this trial and the naval confrontation. It's only the beginning.

from The Korea Times

2 US Journalists Stand Trial in NK

Two American journalists stood trial Thursday in North Korea on charges of illegal entry and
``hostile acts'' in a case that could send them to a labor camp for 10 years, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's California-based Current TV media venture, were arrested March 17 near the North Korean border while on a reporting trip to China.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said in a brief dispatch earlier Thursday that the trial would begin at 3 p.m. (Korean time), AP said.

The trial was taking place at a time of mounting tensions on the Korean Peninsula following the regime's provocative nuclear test last week.

As discussions continued at the United Nations and in Washington on how to punish the regime for its defiance, there were fears the women could become political pawns in any negotiations North Korea undertakes.

AP quoted analyst Choi Eun-suk, a professor of North Korean law at Kyungnam University, as saying the court could convict and sentence the women to labor, and then use them as bargaining chips in negotiations with the U.S.

``The North is likely to release and deport them to the U.S. ― if negotiations with the U.S. go well,'' Choi was quoted as saying.

``One explanation of North Korea's behavior is that Pyongyang is trying to catch Washington's attention. It believes the Obama administration has not made North Korea a priority,'' David Straub of Stanford University's Korean studies program was quoted as saying.

Back home, the reporters' families pleaded for clemency.

``All we can do is hope the North Korean government will show leniency,'' Ling's sister, TV journalist Lisa Ling, was quoted as saying in an emotional plea at a California vigil Wednesday night. ``If at any point they committed a transgression, then our families are deeply, deeply sorry. We know the girls are sorry as well.''

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