North Korea frees US prisoner on Carter's request

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Jimmy Carter
Pyongyang, Aug 27: In Aug 2009, former US President Bill Clinton had to fly to North Korea to negotiate the release of two American journalists, a year later it was time again for America to send another of its former presidents', Jimmy Carter to the communist nation to facilitate the release of another American prisoner.

The former US president and Nobel peace laureate Carter managed to move North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il to grant amnesty for Aijalon Gomes, the US citizen jailed in the country for illegally crossing the border into North Korea in Jan 2010.

"At the request of President Carter, and for humanitarian purposes, Mr Gomes was granted amnesty by the chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Jong-Il," the Carter Center said in a statement.

Carter will be leaving North Korea on Friday, Aug 27 with Gomes.

"It is expected that Mr Gomes will be returned to Boston, Mass., early Friday afternoon, to be reunited with his mother and other members of his family," the statement added.

Carter arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday, Aug 25 to negotiate the release of Gomes, who is said to be a christian activist.

This comes a year after Bill Clinton negotiated the release of two journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who had crossed the border into North Korea in Mar 2009.

They were arrested and sentenced to 12 years hard labor.

N Korea: Jailed Journos fly back with Clinton

On the intervention from Clinton, North Korea agreed to release the scribes, who flew back with the ex-president on Aug 4, 2009.

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