euna lee and laura ling sentenced to 12 years in north korea

North Korea's official news agency is reporting that Euna Lee and Laura Ling, the two American journalists who have been detained since March and stood trial last week for illegal entry and "hostile acts," have been sentenced to 12 years hard labor: N. Korea Sentences 2 U.S. Journalists to 12 Years of Hard Labor.

According to KCNA, the Central Court tried the two reporters and confirmed their unspecified "grave crime" against the nation, and of illegally crossing into North Korea. The court, which tried them from June 4 to 8, "sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labor."

The report gave no other details. They apparently can't appeal as they were tried in North Korea's highest court, where decisions are final. The sentences are much harsher than what many observers had hoped for. The trial wasn't open to the public or to foreign observers. This is the worst possible outcome.

Now what? There were fears that the two reporters would be used by Pyongyang as bargaining chips in its standoff with South Korea and the United States, which are pushing for U.N. sanctions to punish the nation for its latest nuclear blast and barrage of missile tests.

Obviously, there will be more on this to come. Check this Facebook group for updates. What do we do now? These two women are now caught in a grave situation involving powers much bigger than themselves.

The United States needs to send a high-level envoy to North Korea to bring Euna Lee and Laura Ling home. For now, I suggest emailing the State Department at secretary@state.gov demanding they step up negotiations with North Korea. They need to step up their shit because this is fucking insane.

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