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DPRK to try 2 US journalists

TWO United States journalists arrested by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on accusations of illegal entry and "hostile acts" will be tried early next month, state media said yesterday.

Laura Ling and Euna Lee, reporters for former US Vice President Al Gore's San Francisco-based Current TV media venture, were detained on March 17 on a report journey in the DPRK.

A brief dispatch by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency did not say what charges they will face on June 4. But state media previously said they stand accused of illegal entry and unspecified "hostile acts" ¨? charges that could carry up to 10 years in prison.

The detention of the two Americans comes at a time of mounting tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

The women will be tried in North Korea's Central Court ¨? the country's top court ¨? the statement said, in a sign of the seriousness of the case and an indication any appeal will be denied.

The US does not have diplomatic ties with the North and has relied on the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang to negotiate on its behalf.


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