Monday, March 22, 2010

N. Korea To Put Detained American On Trial

North Korea said Monday that it will put a detained American on trial for illegally entering the country from China.

A North Korean agency decided to indict Aijalon Mahli Gomes as "his crime has been confirmed," the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a brief dispatch.

The dispatch said the man was born in 1979 and a resident of Boston. It provided no further details.

Monday's announcement came as regional powers are pushing for North Korea to rejoin international disarmament talks on its nuclear weapons program. The North pulled out of the arms talks last year in protest of international criticism of a rocket launch.

North Korea said in January that it had detained an American man in addition to Korean-American missionary Robert Park but had not identified him until Monday.

In February, the North released Park after 43 days of captivity. The missionary defiantly crossed the border into North Korea on Christmas Day, shouting that he was bringing God's love and carrying a letter urging leader Kim Jong Il to step down from power.

Park's detainment came four months after two American journalists arrested at the border were freed and their 12-year sentences for illegal entry and "hostile acts" were commuted after former President Bill Clinton traveled to Pyongyang and met North Korean leader Kim.

Boston Globe; AP; BBC World.

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