SEOUL (AP) — North Korea said Friday an American imprisoned for illegally entering the reclusive country has tried to kill himself.
Aijalon Mahli Gomes, from Boston, attempted to commit suicide and is being treated at a hospital, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency said, citing information from “a relevant” government entity.
The brief dispatch also said the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang was aware of his condition. The U.S. and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations, and Sweden handles Washington’s interests in the country.
Mr. Gomes was sentenced in April to eight years of hard labor and fined $700,000 for entering the country illegally and for an unspecified “hostile act.”
The reported suicide attempt came weeks after North Korea threatened to increase punishment for Mr. Gomes amid tensions over the sinking of a South Korean warship that Seoul and Washington have blamed on Pyongyang.
KCNA reported in June that the North was examining what harsher measures to take against Mr. Gomes under a wartime law, and would be compelled to consider applying the law if the U.S. persisted in its “hostile approach.”
Diplomats said the U.N. Security Council planned to approve a statement Friday condemning a deadly torpedo attack on the South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors, but stopping short of directly blaming North Korea.
The North denies it was responsible and has warned that any punishment would trigger war.
“North Korea is pressing the U.S. to come forward to a bilateral meeting to try to deflect the pressure it faces over the ship issue and move the atmosphere toward dialogue and [a resumption of] six-nation talks on the North’s nuclear programs,” Mr. Kim said.View Entire Story
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