Heartsick Journo Families Plead for Mercy

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Jun 9, 2009 2:32 AM CDT
Euna Lee and Laura Ling were sentenced to 12 years or an unspecified "grave" infraction as they were investigating a story for Current TV on the trafficking of women near the North Korean border.   (AP Photo/Yonhap, File)
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(Newser) – The "shocked and devastated" families of two San Francisco journalists sentenced to 12 years hard labor in North Korea have pleaded with authorities to show compassion and free the women from a grueling future behind bars. The families are concerned about the "wellbeing and mental state" of Euna Lee and Laura Ling, and said that Ling's 4-year-old daughter was "anguished," according to a joint statement.

"We ask the government of North Korea to show compassion and allow them to return home," said the statement. The women were sentenced for an unspecified "grave" crime and crossing the border while investigating a story on the trafficking of women for Current TV. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the government was "pursuing every possible approach" to free the women.