April 6th, 2010
09:26 PM ET

American detained in North Korea sentenced

An American detained in North Korea for illegally entering the country was sentenced to eight years of hard labor, North Korea's state-run news agency reported Wednesday.

Aijalon Mahli Gomes, 30, was sentenced in court Tuesday, according to Korea Central News Agency.

The U.S. State Department has confirmed that an American is being held in the country, but has not released his name.

KCNA reported in January that an American had been detained January 25 for trespassing into North Korea from China.

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Filed under: North Korea • World
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Robert Giorgi

    Anyone ever see Midnight Express? The guy went into NORTH KOREA, this isnt like sneaking into canada to go see a hockey game. This is a nuclear nation that to put it bluntly, think we suck. I dont see what his punishment is going to do for our people, seeing as Kim Jong Il is more of a deterrent than anything. Oh and Alan, before you proudly spew your misguided, racist patriotism-hit spell check.

    April 7, 2010 at 8:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. whatdidyouthink

    @Alvin A Rivers Sr

    What gave the American the right to think he/she could do whatever they wanted while abroad? Any dumb enough to cross into North Korea deserves what they get. In fact, I wish we'd start taking this sort of approach with people who cross into our country illegally. Maybe we wouldn't have to spend so much on border patrols. Maybe the countless Americans that can't find ANY work would be able to without illegal immigrants working for less then minimal wage....

    April 7, 2010 at 8:18 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim Wilkerson

    How much safer would America be, if we were that strict on illegal aliens? Wow. Now North Korea has got their border protection in order! I don't agree with the punishment. I could see a fine, but not imprisonment.

    April 7, 2010 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Stand and Deliver

    Imagine if we protected our boarders like that. It would provide thousands of additional law enforcement jobs. It would mean millions less illegal aliens competing for US jobs and keeping wages artificially low. And just think of how clean our highways and parks would be with tens of thousands of convicted illegals now working for a 5×8 cell and 3 crappy meals a day. The price of heroin and cocaine would be out of reach for most junkies. We might even have a little space left over for people from countries like N Korea that are willing to give up everything but their name to seek political asylum in the greatest democracy on Earth.

    April 7, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  5. Vic

    Yes, we can DEFINITELY take advice from N Korea and the other "Axis of Evil"(SMH) about immigration policy. Either get permission or face years of imprisonment and hard labor. Though if we do that its only fair to make it more feasible to get permission too. Must be a balance.

    Separately I'm sad there's less press and public attention on this man than the 2 Asian women who were detained last year. Looks like he'll have to serve his term. Sad

    April 7, 2010 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Stephanie

    I'm surprised to hear of another American detained. I do not fault N. Korea because they have every right to their own laws. Sadly, that American should have known better after the previous cases of detained Americans.

    By the way, do people edit their comments? I'm more surprised about the spelling mistakes over the detained American! Shocking!

    April 8, 2010 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. Voila

    Hopefully the Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang, who has been helpful in similar cases of illegal American border-crossing, weill be well paid for his services.

    April 8, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  8. traild

    their country, their rules... america is no grandma when it comes to things like that either... we don't hear about everything going on this country... may the lord keep him...

    August 5, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  9. darise

    I agree that the nation is a sovereignt nation and that the country has strict laws. However that does not account for the many North Koreans that have been caught hacking into our governments systems. They get to hide behind their country’s (same) laws not having them exported. It’s illegal to hack in NK yet it seems so many of the organized hacking rings ( have been found to be Government funded) breaking our laws on a weekly and daily basic with computers yet we do not go into NK and arrest those personnel or fine their country. It seems a double standard to me. We should take there people and excuse them cause hacking is a worse crime then sneaking into a country of oppressed people.

    August 24, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
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