Laura Ling and Euna Lee are finally set free on Tuesday, August 4, 2009. In March of this year, these two popular journalists for CurrentTV, embarked upon a mission that has been touted as both humanitarian and political in nature, depending on who’s doing the reporting of the events, which are still unfolding as of this writing. One thing that all parties involved can agree upon is that a series of most unfortunate proceedings have occurred as a result. This is definitely a humanitarian issue.
The Charge and Sentencing
While covering the story for their employer, CurrentTV, Ling and Lee were arrested by North Korean and imprisoned in inhuman prison camps. They underwent what is said to have been a grueling one-hundred forty days of hard labor in a North Korean prison. All of this comes after a secret trial at which the two women were sentenced to an unbelievable twelve years of hard labor in a North Korean prison. It is also said that they were accused of being American spies who illegally snuck onto North Korean soil.
Who Are Laura Ling and Euna Lee?
Laura Ling and Euna Lee are not spies. They are reporters. They are presently working for CurrentTV, a cable news and entertainment channel, which welcomes citizen journalism, covers injustice, politics, social, national, and global issues. Former Vice-President Al Gore is one of the owners of the channel.
Ling and Lee work on the Vanguard news team. Here’s the irony. On the assignment that led the women into the hands of the North Koreans, they were in China, covering injustice in the North Korean legal system.
What we would like to know now is exactly how these women found themselves in the hands of North Korean border guards in the first place. Were they captured in China?
The Road Back Home
Amnesty and pardon are the operative words in obtaining their release, that’s for sure. United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton initially offered public words of anger and frustration that we all felt for these women. She later, changed her tune and began to take on a more apologetic tone, a definitive political and smart move on her part, as she then requested amnesty and a safe return for our fellow American citizens.
The questions now surround exactly how Laura Ling and Euna Lee’s release was miraculously brokered. Today we learn that former President Bill Clinton and others have been engaged in weeks of confidential talks with North Korean Communist leader Kim Jong Il, negotiating the release and ultimate political pardon of both Ling and Lee. Former Bill Clinton and others flew to North Korea today, met with Kim Jong Il, issued a formal apology on behalf of Ling and Lee, and their astounding release was, in fact granted.
Both Ling and Lee, along with Clinton boarded his private airplane and left North Korea today and are expected to arrive in Los Angeles, California tomorrow, Wednesday, August 5, 2009. Laura Ling’s father tells CNN News today, “This is one of the happiest days of my life.” They are expected to be greeted by their families and a host of other well-wishers upon their arrival.
Watch Laura Ling and Euna Lee board for President Bill Clinton's private plane headed back home to America here:
More Questions Still Remain
- How were they treated in the North Korean prison?
- Were they tortured?
- Were they treated fairly?
- Were they kidnapped in China?
- Will they be silenced here at home or will they be allowed to tell their story?
- What was their interrogation like?
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