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Plea to help Laura Ling – private letter campaign from Charles and Lorraine Clayton

Laura Ling’s UK family have started a private letter campaign to the North Korean Government asking for her release

Laura Ling and Charles Clayton during Laura and Iain’s last visit to East Hendred, Oxon, UK

Laura Ling and Charles Clayton during Laura and Iain’s last visit to East Hendred, Oxon, UK

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog written by my cousin Iain Clayton, who’s wife Laura Ling has been sentenced to imprisonment in North Korea, with her colleague Euna Lee.

Now Iain’s brother Charles Clayton, who lives in the UK, has started a private letter campaign to generate a national and worldwide plea on behalf of the two women.

America has no diplomatic relations with North Korea and the Swedish Ambassador in North Korea has had limited communications with the two women. So Charles and his wife Lorraine sought advice on how to help through diplomatic channels in England. They were advised of ways to indirectly approach the North Korean government in a bid to help Laura and Euna.

They insist that the campaign does not seek not to offend nor blame the North Korean government, but to respectfully present the cases of Laura and Euna. They hope that the magnitude of the campaign will encourage the North Korean government to release the girls on humanitarian grounds.

Laura Ling and Iain Clayton during their last visit to the Uk

Laura Ling and Iain Clayton during their last visit to East Hendred

Laura is a journalist for Current TV (based in California). She had travelled to the Chinese/North Korean border to research the plight of female North Korean refugees. On March 17 Laura was placed under arrest by the North Korean authorities along with a colleague, Euna Lee. From June 4 to 8, Laura and Euna were tried for ‘hostile acts’ against the State and sentenced to 14 and 12 years respectively, hard labour in a North Korean labour camp.

“Laura and Euna are American citizens. As you can imagine, with North Korea’s nuclear and missile testing, it could not be a worse time for this to happen. This issue is highly sensitive and therefore, activity by the families was initially very low key,”

Charles and Lorraine explained in an email.

“However, now that the girls have been sentenced we hope that the North Koreans will show clemency and send the girls home to their families, whom they have not seen for three months. Euna Lee has a four year old daughter at home. Laura and Iain are days away from their fifth wedding anniversary.”

How can you help?

Charles and Lorraine have asked for people to help them by drafting a letter to the ambassador. They have already written a letter,

which can be found here. You simply need to edit as appropriate to your circumstance.

You will notice the tone of the letter. They have asked that for this private letter campaign to have any chance of being effective in shortening the length of time Laura and Euna remain in detention it is important that this tone is maintained.

The letter should be sent by post, to:

HE The Ambassador of DPR Korea

Embassy of the DPR Korea

73 Gunnersbury Avenue

London W5 4LP

Thank you

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Captured journalists in North Korea families speak out

My cousin’s wife Laura Ling has been detained in North Korea for the last three months and is due to go on trial.  Below is a blog post written by him today for Larry King’s blog.

Laura Ling, far right, with her mother, center, and sister Lisa Ling, left

Laura Ling, far right, with her mother, center, and sister Lisa Ling, left

By Iain Clayton

As the trial date of June 4th approaches, I grow increasingly apprehensive and nervous about the fate of my wife, Laura Ling, and her colleague, Euna Lee. They have now been detained by the Government of the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] for nearly three months. During this time I have had very limited contact with her and really, really miss her.

I think about her every moment of the day and try to imagine what she is doing, how nervous she must be and ask what I can do to make things better and ultimately bring them home. We have been together for 12 years and this is the longest I’ve gone without hearing her voice. We just bought our first house and it feels so empty without Laura. The pillows she ordered arrived a couple weeks ago, I wish she could see them.

Apart from writing her a letter every day, I have tried to make her situation a little more bearable by sending her parcels of things she loves – like dried squid and beef jerky.  Since USPS, FedEx, UPS and DHL do not deliver there from the US, I have resorted to sending them via my family in the United Kingdom.  I found out today that one I sent nearly three weeks ago has finally arrived. I find it amazing that it takes that long to send a parcel anywhere in the world.

I think it is this isolation that attracted them to the assignment in the first place. A trip that may end up with them indicted and tried, even though they were journalists simply covering a story.

You can also watch a video here of his appearance with the rest of Laura and Euna’s families on the Today programme in America.

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