Lisa Ling on communicating with her sister, who was imprisoned in North Korea
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Laura was only allowed four phone calls to her family—and Lisa says they were clearly monitored, even scripted. "Right after the trial, for example, I asked her, 'Have you been moved? Where are you?' And she said, 'The conditions are decent,' in a very sort of robotic way," Lisa says. "She's my best friend, so I know her better than I know myself in many ways. I can tell when she's obviously not being herself."

Still, Laura's personality came through in an emotional letter Lisa received two months after her capture. "I'm so, so scared, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to see you again. I miss you all so much, it hurts," Laura wrote in the letter. "I want my big sister. I'm dreaming about the moment when we will be together again."

Three weeks after Laura and Euna's secret trial, Lisa received a chilling phone call. "[Laura] said: 'Lisa, it's important that you hear this. We broke the law, and our only help is if the United States government asks for amnesty for us,'" Lisa says. "She said that if she is, in fact, sent to a labor camp, that she won't survive."

FROM: Exclusive Summer Headlines
Published on September 11, 2009

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