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Freed Journalists Speak About Detention in N. Korea

Posted August. 07, 2009 08:19,   


The two American journalists released after 141 days of detention in North Korea have begun talking about their ordeal.

Euna Lee and Laura Ling arrived at an airport near Los Angeles Wednesday and immediately headed home, where they have remained since.

They reportedly told their families of their lives in the communist country. Ling’s older sister Lisa, who appeared on the TV documentary “Inside North Korea” in 2006, told reporters yesterday, “They actually were kept apart most of the time,” adding, “On the day of their trial, they hugged each other and that was it.”

Laura Ling was allowed to call her family four times after her arrest March 17. She once said her sister asked that they write to Lee and “tell her that I’m thinking about her, and I love her.”

In a call last month, Laura Ling said a North Korean official told her that North Korea would be willing to grant them amnesty if "an envoy in the person of President Clinton would agree to come to Pyongyang and seek their release.” The official also mentioned former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Lisa Ling said her sister while captive was “really, really anxious to have fresh fruit and fresh food... There were rocks in her rice.”

Saying her sister lost 6.8 kilograms while being detained, Lisa Ling said she is “a little bit weak” and needs to rest for a while.

Lee is spending time with her family at her home in a Los Angeles suburb. She called her company Current TV around 11 a.m. Wednesday to tell colleagues that she is very grateful for returning home, and that she repeatedly read their letters delivered by the Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang.

Lee said the letters were her only link to the outside world. Her family told reporters that the two journalists were apparently not treated badly since they stayed at a guesthouse.

Echoing what Laura Ling said shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, Lee said they feared being sent to a labor camp at any moment.