U.S. Christian Gets 8 Years Hard Labor in N. Korea

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An American Christian has been sentenced to eight years of hard labor in North Korea for entering the country illegally and committing "hostile acts."

Boston resident Aijalon Mahli Gomes was arrested Jan. 25 after entering N. Korea from the China border.

It's still unclear why Gomes was in the country, but he'd been teaching English in South Korea. Friends describe him as a devout Christian.

In addition to the labor sentence, Gomes was also fined the equivalent of about $700,000.

Gomes was photographed in early January at a human rights protest in the demilitarized zone that separates the two Koreas.

It's also known that he participated in at least two rallies calling for the release of American Christian activist Robert Park. Park was arrested in December for illegally entering N. Korea, but has since been released.

Experts believe Gomes could be released as a bargaining chip with the U.S. over N. Korea's nuclear program.

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