American imprisoned in N. Korea returns to Boston

Aijalon Gomes is directed to his family by former President Jimmy Carter at Logan International Airport in Boston, Friday, Aug. 27, 2010. Carter flew to the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, this week on a private mission to secure a pardon for the 31-year-old American who was detained in January after crossing into the country from China. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

August 27, 2010 12:49:35 PM PDT
An American held for seven months in North Korea after crossing into the communist country has returned to his hometown of Boston. A plane carrying Aijalon Gomes and former President Jimmy Carter landed Friday at Logan International Airport, where Gomes' family was waiting. Carter negotiated his released.

It's unclear why the 31-year-old Gomes, who had been teaching English in South Korea, illegally entered the North in January. Gomes was sentenced to eight years' hard labor, and in July the state-run news agency reported he'd attempted suicide.

The news agency reported Friday that leader Kim Jong Il had granted Carter's request to "leniently forgive" Gomes.

Gomes appeared very thin but smiled as he posed with Carter before leaving North Korea.