Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Kim Jong-il has granted a special pardon to detained journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee by Lia Chang

 this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, the two female American journalists, far left, and second right, head to a chartered plane carrying the homebound former President Bill Clinton at an airport in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009. His mission accomplished, former President Bill Clinton left Pyongyang early Wednesday accompanied by American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned the women from their 12-year prison sentences. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Binyang)

this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, the two female American journalists, far left, and second right, head to a chartered plane carrying the homebound former President Bill Clinton at an airport in Pyongyang, capital of North Korea Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009. His mission accomplished, former President Bill Clinton left Pyongyang early Wednesday accompanied by American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il pardoned the women from their 12-year prison sentences. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhang Binyang)

Today is the day we have all been waiting for, detained journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have been granted a special pardon by Kim Jong-il, due to the diplomatic tact of Ex-President Bill Clinton’s surprise visit to Pyongyang.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton greets U.S. journalists Laura Ling (in green) and Euna Lee (in red) as they board a chartered plane at an airport in Pyongyang August 5, 2009 in this photo released by China's official Xinhua News Agency. North Korea said on Wednesday it had pardoned the two jailed American journalists after Clinton met the reclusive state's leader Kim Jong-il, a move some analysts said could pave the way to direct nuclear disarmament talks. REUTERS/Xinhua/Zhang Binyang

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton greets U.S. journalists Laura Ling (in green) and Euna Lee (in red) as they board a chartered plane at an airport in Pyongyang August 5, 2009 in this photo released by China's official Xinhua News Agency. North Korea said on Wednesday it had pardoned the two jailed American journalists after Clinton met the reclusive state's leader Kim Jong-il, a move some analysts said could pave the way to direct nuclear disarmament talks. REUTERS/Xinhua/Zhang Binyang


American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were detained in North Korea while on assignment for San Francisco-based Current TV – a media venture founded by former Vice President Al Gore on March 17, while they were shooting video along the China/North Korea border for a story they were working on about the trafficking of women in the region. They were stopped by North Korean border guards and arrested immediately thereafter. Both women were transported to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, where they remained under arrest until their trial.

Their verdict in a closed trial was reached on June 8, and both women were sentenced to 12 years of reform through labor for illegal entry and grave crimes against the North Korean state.

Since the sentencing, the families have received calls, and during the second call in July, Laura told her sister Lisa Ling that she and Euna did violate North Korean law and confessed to all of the charges levied against them. They expressed deep regret for their actions and asked for continued support from our country and its citizens for their amnesty.

In a surprise move, ex-President Bill Clinton flew to Pyongyang yesterday, on a private humanitarian mission, to secure the release of Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

At the airport, he was greeted by Yang Hyong Sop, vice-president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and Kim Kye Gwan, vice-minister of Foreign Affairs.

He subsequently sat down with Kim Jong-il, who has now granted a special pardon to the two American journalists. Thanks Mr. Clinton. We look forward to seeing Laura and Euna soon.

Click hereReuters: North Korea’s Kim releases U.S. journalists: report
Tue Aug 4, 2009 3:21pm EDT
for the full report on reuters.com.

7:34am EDT
LONDON (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has granted a “special pardon” to two jailed U.S. journalists which releases them from detention, the official KCNA news agency reported on Tuesday.

“Kim Jong-il issued an order of the chairman of the DPRK National Defense Commission on granting a special pardon to the two American journalists who had been sentenced to hard labor in accordance with Article 103 of the Socialist Constitution and releasing them,” KCNA said in a statement which carried a Pyongyang dateline.

Check out the website www.lauraandeuna.com, created by the families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee.

Related Articles:
Korean Central News Agency (kcna) reports that Bill Clinton has arrived in pyongyang
Ex-President Clinton to Visit North Korea Tuesday for Detained Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee
U.S. Calls for Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee to Be Returned Home
The Families of Laura Ling and Euna Lee Respond to Korean Central News Agency Report
A Statement from AAJA about Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee, Sentenced to 12 Years in North Korea Labor Prison
Allan Dodds Frank and Maya Lin Speak out at New York Vigil for Detained Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee
NYC Vigil to bring Laura Ling and Euna Lee home
U.S. State Department deputy department spokesman Robert Wood answers questions about detained journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee
Lisa Ling talks to Matt Lauer on The Today Show
Nationwide Vigils June 3 for Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee Detained in North Korea
The families of Detained Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee will be on The Today Show and Larry King on June 1
Multimedia: New York Vigil for the Release of Detained Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee.
Candlelight Vigils for the Release of Detained Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee in New York City, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles and Orlando
U.S. Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee Arrested by North Korea to Face Trial in June
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This entry was posted on August 4, 2009 by in Laura Ling and Euna Lee, Politics and tagged , , , , , , .
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