North Korea to try detained US journalists (Lead)

April 24th, 2009 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Seoul, April 24 (DPA) North Korea Friday said it has concluded its investigation into the alleged illegal entry of two US journalists now detained by the Stalinist state and formally decided to put them on trial.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency said “hostile acts” had been concluded and the two women were also to be indicted on charges of illegal entry.

The authorities were preparing an indictment “based on criminal data confirmed”.

The two women, Korean-American Euna Lee and Chinese-American Laura Ling, were arrested March 17 by guards at the Chinese-North Korean border where they were working on a story for US news channel Current TV.

Pyongyang said the two journalists were granted consular access. Diplomatic efforts were underway to secure the release of the two journalists the US State Department said last week.

Affairs were handled by the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang as Washington has no diplomatic relations with the country, the South Korean Yonhap news agency said.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have mounted since North Korea April 5 launched what it said was a rocket carrying communications satellite, a move condemned by the UN Security Council as violating a ban on North Korea testing ballistic missiles.

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