Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Reuters adds that experts on North Korea “said a guilty verdict is certain”


June 3, 2009, 6:25 pm

Vigils Held for American Reporters on Trial in North Korea

INSERT DESCRIPTIONYonhap/Associated Press Euna Lee, top, and Laura Ling.

Vigils in several American cities are being held Wednesday evening in support of two American journalists jailed in North Korea who are expected to go on trial Thursday morning.

As The Lede noted last month, Laura Ling, a Chinese-American, and Euna Lee, a Korean-American, were arrested by North Korea in March while they were filming for Current TV near the country’s border with China. According to North Korea, Reuters reports, the journalists crossed into North Korean territory “with hostile intent.”

Reuters adds that experts on North Korea “said a guilty verdict is certain” and that the two women “are likely to become bargaining chips in high-stake negotiations with the United States which has long sought to end the North’s nuclear ambitions.”

Supporters of the women were to hold candlelight vigils, which were organized on Facebook, in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Birmingham, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Angeles.

As my colleague Choe Sang-Hun reported in April:

Ms. Ling, 32, is the younger sister of Lisa Ling, a television journalist who reported undercover in North Korea for National Geographic in 2006. In the piece, “Inside North Korea,” Lisa Ling posed as part of a medical team that used a hidden camera; her report exposed some of the hardships of living in North Korea and criticized the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.

Lisa Ling has received one letter from her sister Laura, dated May 15. This excerpt from the letter is posted Facebook:

When I first got here, I cried so much. Now, I cry less. I try very hard to think about positive things, but sometimes it is hard too. Some days I get to go outside and get some fresh air. In the early evening, I do some stretching. I also sit and meditate. I breathe deeply and think about positive things that have happened in the day. For example, I think “I’m lucky I made it through another day.” I’m lucky my family is working so hard to get me released. I’m thinking about you all constantly and how fortunate I am to have an amazing family. Stay strong and please take care of yourselves. That is my request. Know that I’m thinking of you and dreaming about being reunited with you all again.

All my love,

The Twitter feed Liberate Laura is calling for a “Twitter vigil” in support of the two women — asking that support for them be expressed by adding the tag #liberatelaura to tweets."

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