Earlier this year Robert Park made worldwide headlines when he was released from a North Korean prison. Operating on faith, Park crossed over from South Korea to North Korea in a effort to bring greater attention to the North’s oppressive human rights record.
When Park was released he battled suicidal tendencies and has been hospitalized multiple times for his afflictions. A large part of his worry concerned his friend Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who entered North Korea shortly after Park’s release. In April, the North Korean government sentenced the Boston native to eight years in a hard labor camp and fined him $700,000.
Now, Park is breathing a sigh of relief for answered prayers. Former President Jimmy Carter traveled to South Korea and won the release of Gomes. “I was planning to kill myself with a suicide note to bring attention to Aijalon—I feel responsible for him being there,” Park said. “He is one of my best friends, and I prayed for my life to be taken and not his.”