N. Korea sentences 2 US journalists to 12 years in jail

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June 8, 2009 08:00

 
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North Korea said its top court convicted two US journalists and sentenced them to 12 years in labor prison Monday, intensifying the reclusive nation's confrontation with the United States. The North's Central Court tried American TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee during proceedings running from last Thursday to Monday and found them guilty of a "grave crime" against the nation, and of illegally crossing into North Korea, the country's state-run Korean Central News Agency said. It said the court "sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor." The KCNA report gave no other details. Ling and Lee - who were working for former Vice President Al Gore's California-based Current TV - cannot appeal because they were tried in North Korea's highest court, where decisions are final. The circumstances surrounding the trial of the two journalists and their arrest March 17 on the China-North Korean border have been shrouded in secrecy, as is typical of the reclusive nation. The trial was not open to the public or foreign observers, including the Swedish Embassy, which looks after American interests in the absence of diplomatic relations.

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