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Breaking: North Korea Pardons Euna Lee and Laura Ling

August 4, 2009

After today’s visit by former president Bill Clinton, the North Korean government has agreed to a “special pardon” for the two journalists sentenced to 12 years hard labor.

As we wrote in yesterday’s update, Euna Lee and Laura Ling were arrested on the border of China and North Korea and charged with initiating a “politically motivated smear campaign”. It is unclear whether they were arrested on the Chinese side or the North Korean side, or whether their confessions of guilt were real, coerced, or if they ever actually occurred.

The harsh punishment sent down by leader Kim Jongil is widely believed to be an attempt at gaining worldwide attention and perhaps political leverage.

Click here for the New York Times’ update on the story.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.