A Source of Happiness

Juliene James Former, Senior Policy Associate, Center on Sentencing and Corrections
Aug 05, 2009

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, the journalists I wrote about in a previous post, have beenpardoned and will not serve the 12-year term to which they were sentenced in June. They are now back in the U.S., after a dramatic and much publicized meeting between President Bill Clinton and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
This is a very welcome development—it’s incredibly moving to see photographs of the women embracing their families for the first time in months. Journalists and analysts are also speculating that the exchange between Clinton and Kim is a prelude to a more open exchange about halting Korea’s nuclear program and other matters of state.
I am very interested to see if, in the days and weeks to come, the women comment on the conditions in which they were held. They were imprisoned for nearly five months: three months prior to sentencing and about two after. Will they reveal that conditions are as poor as other stories suggest? If you read or hear about their experiences while imprisoned, I'd love to hear about it in the comments.


*The title of this post comes from Obama’s announcement this morning expressing his relief that the journalists returned safely and his gratitude that Clinton made the journey.