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Euna Lee and Laura Ling To Stand Trial Thursday In North Korea

By KJ Mullins     Jun 3, 2009 in World
North Korea is using the trial of two journalists to get a voice in the world. Laura Ling told her sister during a phone call that the only way she and Euna Lee will be released is if the US talks to North Korea.
Lisa Ling was called by her sister the day after the second nuclear device was tested by North Korea. Laura Ling sounded scared her sister told Larry King Monday night. The Ling family released a portion of a letter that they received from Laura, 32. Times Online reports:
“When I first got here, I cried so much. Now, I cry less. I try very hard to think about positive things, but sometimes it is hard to. Some days I get to go outside and get some fresh air. In the early evening, I do some stretching ... I breathe deeply and think about positive things that have happened in the day. For example, I think ’I’m lucky I made it through another day.”
Ling and Lee are facing up to ten years in a labor camp if they are convicted of going into North Korea illegally and "hostile acts." Their trial begins on Thursday in Pyongyang. It is expected that the two will be found guilty and be used as a bargaining chip.
The Washington Post reports:
"Trying to determine the nature of the law applied in their trial is meaningless," said Lee Jae-won, a lawyer in Seoul and chairman of a committee that studies human rights in North Korea for the Korean Lawyers Association. "It is going to be a political trial."
North Korea has angered the world with their recent nuclear and missile testing. They have also threatened war against South Korea.
Laura Ling's phone call to her sister though suggests to some experts that the journalists could be used as a way for the nation to reopen dialogue with the government with the United States.
North Korea is known for taking chances in order to get rewards for agreeing to have talks afterward. Allowing the phone call is one of those tip-offs that this may be a ploy by the government.
The Washington Post reports:
"Until I heard about the communications, I would have been prepared to say that if the trial takes place, the women will be convicted and sentenced," said Charles L. Pritchard, president of the Korea Economic Institute in Washington and a special envoy to North Korea under President George W. Bush.
You can sign an online petition to help free Ling and Lee.
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