London, June 8 (ANI): North Korea has sentenced two US journalists to 12 years hard labour in prison for "hostile acts" against the rogue state.
Euna Lee and Laura Ling were captured on March 17, while working on a television documentary about North Korean exiles crossing the border into China. It is unclear if they crossed the border into North Korea, or were apprehended by aggressive border guards while still inside China.
"The trial confirmed the grave crime they committed against the Korean nation and their illegal border crossing," said the Korean Central News Agency, the official state news agency.
The Telegraph quoted KCNA as saying that the court had "sentenced each of them to 12 years of reform through labour."
The trial of the two journalists began on June 4, however no details emerged from the closed hearing until today. The North has not specified the exact charges, or allowed foreign observers into the proceedings.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "incredibly concerned" about the fate of the two women, and that the charges against them are absolutely without merit or foundation.
She said she had sent a letter to Pyongyang demanding their release. "I have taken every action that we thought would produce the result we are looking for," she said, adding that she wanted them to be sent home.
North Korea's decision to imprison the women coincided with reports in Washington that the Obama administration was looking at ways to put North Korea back on the list of states that sponsor terrorism, a move that would incur tough sanctions and an arms embargo. (ANI)