American journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were reportedly pardoned and expected to be released from North Korean custody Wednesday after being held since March 17 for perpetrating "hostile acts" in entering the country, according to multiple media reports. They had been reporting on North Korean refugees living in China.
North Korean-run news agency KCNA announced Tuesday that the journalists, of San Francisco-based Current TV, were pardoned by North Korean president Kim Jong Il during negotiations with former President Bill Clinton.
The two women had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in North Korean labor camps. The state-run news agency called the pardons "a manifestation" of the nation’s "humanitarian and peace-loving policy.” Pending the safe return of Clinton and the journalists, the White House was mum on the subject, as were the reporters’ families.