N. Korea has decided to formally try Euna Lee and Laura Ling, two American journalists who were arrested 5 weeks ago at the border between N. Korea and China.
Euna Lee (Left); Laura Ling (Right)
The U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea and thus, a Swedish diplomat based in North Korea has met with Lee and Ling on Washington's behalf. The journalists were detained shortly before North Korea launched a long range rocket, causing tensions between the communist country, the United Nations Security Council, and the U.S., to rise.
"The North Korean news agency, KCNA, did not say specifically what charges the journalists will face. But North Korea officials said on March 31 that the reporters would be indicted on charges of “illegal entry” and perpetrating “hostile acts” against the Communist state." - NY Times
North Korea is not known for its' fair judicial system and if convicted of illegal entry, Lee and Ling could face up to three years in prison. However, if found guilty of espionage or "hostility to the North Korean people," the crime is punishable with 5 to 10 years, and Amnesty International, an international non-profit organization which works to combat human rights violations and "demand justice for those whose rights have been violated," doubts that the American journalists will have a fair trial.
Analysts feel that the two reporters are being used as "political leverage" against the U.S., as negotations surrounding North Korea's nuclear program have halted and North Korea has withdrawn from talks.
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