Current TV Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee shed light on the events leading to their capture in North Korea, in an op-ed article at latimes.com.
On March 17, 2009, Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested in North Korea while on assignment for San Francisco-based Current TV – a media venture founded by former Vice President Al Gore, 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.
In the article, Lee and Ling describe how they crossed into North Korea across the frozen Tumen River to document the route used by human traffickers smuggling North Koreans over the border. After making it back into China, the two women were arrested by North Korean guards who pursued them across the river.
“We tried with all our might to cling to bushes, ground, anything that would keep us on Chinese soil, but we were no match for the determined soldiers,” Ling and Lee write. “They violently dragged us back across the ice to North Korea and marched us to a nearby army base, where we were detained.”
Both women were transported to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, where they remained under arrest until their trial. Both women were sentenced to 12 years of reform through labor for illegal entry and grave crimes against the North Korean state.
After 140 days, their North Korean nightmare came to end. They were granted a special pardon by Kim Jong-il, due to the diplomatic tact of former President Bill Clinton’s surprise visit to Pyongyang on August 4, and returned to their families at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif. on August 5.
This “thank you” message from Laura Ling and Euna Lee on the Current.com site, aired on Current TV on August 13.
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