Former prison camp inmates Euna Lee, 36, and Laura Ling, 32, couldn't contain their emotions after touching down in California this morning. The women looked emaciated and frail as they descended the steps of a private jet and embraced their loved ones.

Lee and Ling were captured by the North Koreans at the N. Korean border back in March. The women were charged with entering the country illegally and other "hostile acts" against the government. They were convicted and sentenced to 12 years hard labor at a prison camp where prisoners routinely die of starvation. The ones who survive the grueling 12-hour work days subsist on a ration of corn and water daily.

Contrary to popular belief, the decision to free the journalists was already a done deal by the time former president Bill Clinton arrived in N. Korea on a private jet for a round of humiliating photo ops.

Hollywood film producer Stephen Bing, a close friend of Bill Clinton's, sent his private jet to fly the women back home. Lee and Ling hadn't seen their families in 4 months. Ling is the sister of CNN correspondent and former 'The View' host Lisa Ling, and Lee has a 4-year-old daughter.


CNN correspondent Lisa Ling, left, smiles after greeting her sister Laura Ling


Euna Lee, left, with her husband Michael Saldate, center, and daughter Hana Saldate, 4.


Narcissist Barack Obama didn't bother to join in the joyous homecoming celebration.

Photos: Getty Images

In a surprising show of human decency and compassion, North Korea's madman Kim Jong-Il granted a special pardon to broadcast journalists Laura Ling, left, and Euna Lee. Ling is the sister of former 'View' host Lisa Ling.

The journalists were captured by the N. Koreans at the border between N. Korea and S. Korea back in March. They were convicted of espionage and sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in a brutal prison camp where starving prisoners are forced to subsist on a meal of corn and water daily.

The women were working as television reporters for former Vice President Al Gore's Current TV when they were captured. It was assumed that Gore would fly to N. Korea to negotiate their release. But Gore never commented publicly on the case.

Ling and Lee will fly back to the United States on former president Bill Clinton's private jet today. Clinton, who works as a special envoy to the White House, arrived in N. Korea yesterday.

His visit was not a factor in Jong-Il's decision to pardon the journalists. But you know Barack Obama will take credit for helping to win their release anyway.