Asia

What Robert Park Learned in North Korea

The activist on why he entered the country & what he hopes for now. An exclusive interview.

Following his release from North Korea, where he was imprisoned for seven months, Aijalon Mahli Gomes will likely face a long road to recovery.

Gomes, 31, returned to the United States on Friday with former President Jimmy Carter, who traveled to North Korea on Tuesday on a humanitarian visit to negotiate the Boston man's release. North Korean officials agreed to release Gomes to Carter, 85.

Gomes, an English teacher turned Christian activist, crossed into North Korea on January 25. In April, the North Korean government sentenced the Boston native to eight years in a hard-labor camp and fined him $700,000. It's uncertain why Gomes crossed into North Korea, but most observers speculate he did so in response to the actions of his friend, Robert Park.

On Christmas Eve 2009, Park, 29, crossed into North Korea in hopes of drawing attention to the Communist nation's human rights violations and persecution of Christians. Park was arrested and imprisoned in North Korea and released after six weeks. ...

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