North Korea says US journalists face five years or more in a labour camp

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Pyongyang (North Korea), Apr.25 (ANI): The North Korean Government has that the two female American journalists it has arrested for allegedly crossing the Stalinist state's border with China face five years or more in a labour camp.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling of the web-based channel, Current TV, were arrested in mid-March while reporting from the Tumen River, which marks the North Korea's northeast border. They were investigating the plight of North Korean refugees and appear either to have crossed the border or been abducted from the Chinese side by Chinese soldiers

Either way, they have now become pawns in a much larger international diplomatic game that has seen the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Il, defy the world by testing a long range nuclear missile and building a small arsenal of nuclear weapons.

After being held for five weeks in a North Korean state guest house, the two are now been formally prosecuted on unknown charges, possible espionage or "hostility toward North Koreans", which carry a sentence of between five and ten years.

"A competent organ of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea concluded the investigation into the journalists of the United States," the state run Korean Central News Agency reported yesterday.

The US has no diplomatic relations with North Korea, and it has relied on the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to act as its intermediary.

A Swedish diplomat has met the two captives, but the US government has only said that it is doing its best to free them, apparently hoping that the matter can be resolved quietly without the need to turn it into an international incident

Current TV, which was founded by the former US vice-president, Al Gore, has made no statement about the detention of its employees.

Ms Ling, 32, is a Chinese-American and vice-president of the young, informal channel's investigative reporting unit, based in Hollywood. Euna Lee is a Korean-American videographer.

The two were also accompanied by Mitch Koss, a cameraman who escaped apture and is now back in the US. (ANI)

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