In a dramatic move that has far-reaching implications, North Korea has sentenced two American women journalists 12 years of hard labour.
Euna Lee (a Korean American) and Laura Ling (a Chinese American), reports New York Times, were on an assignment from Current TV, a San Francisco-based media company co-founded by Al Gore, the former US vice president, when they were detained by the North Korean soldiers. The duo was working on a report about North Korean refugees -- women and children -- who fled their homeland in hopes of finding food in China.
The trial confirmed the grave crime the reporters committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing as they had already been indicted and sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labour," BBC quoted state-run KCNA news agency as saying.
Some reports, BBC says, have suggested that the women were held while on Chinese soil, but Pyongyang's state media say they had illegally entered North Korea.
The move comes amid worsening ties between Pyongyang and Washington.