American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee were just sentenced to twelve years in prison in North Korea. The seriousness of the plight of these two defies description. According to the North Korean court, they are sentenced to “12 years of reform through labor.” Sigh.
The Kim Jong Il court, which allows no chance of appeal, or representation by a lawyer, said the women were convicted of an unspecified “grave crime” against the nation, which Fox News says is the illegal crossing of the border into North Korea. The women deny that they were inside the country. The sentence was feared to be ten years in prison. Fox believes the two years were tacked on to add some emphasis to the verdict. The women have been in the North Korean prison since March, and the hope now is that perhaps North Korea is bluffing, will keep Ling and Lee for a short time and then release them to the West.
For background read this comprehensive report.