Bill Clinton brings U.S. journalists home from North Korean jail

12:31, 05 August 2009
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Former U.S. President...

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has secured the release of two American journalists detained by North Korea in March, according to RIA Novosti.

Euna Lee, 32 and Laura Ling, 36, had been sentenced to 12 years of hard labor for illegal entry into North Korea and engaging in "hostile acts."

"President Clinton has safely left North Korea with Laura Ling and Euna Lee," Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna said in a statement. "They are en route to Los Angeles, where Laura and Euna will be reunited with their families."

Clinton`s private trip to the secretive communist state saw him meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. North Korean official media said Clinton conveyed a verbal message from President Barack Obama to Kim, but the White House denied the report.

The official North Korean News Agency (KCNA) announced that Kim Jong-il had granted "a special pardon to the two American journalists who had been sentenced to hard labor."

It said the release was a sign of the North`s "humanitarian and peace-loving policy."

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