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Statement of the Family of Aijalon Gomes

Contact: Thaleia Schlesinger, 617-816-6633

The family of Aijalon Gomes feels blessed today to be able to welcome Aijalon home and into the arms of all those who love him.  This has been a long, dark and difficult period—for Aijalon and for our family.  We are grateful to all the people who made today possible.

First, we want to express heartfelt gratitude to former President Jimmy Carter and the staff of The Carter Center for taking on Aijalon's release as a private humanitarian mission.  Thank you President Carter for traveling to North Korea to bring Aijalon home.

Thank you to the government of North Korea for caring for Aijalon during his darkest days, then agreeing to release him on humanitarian grounds.

And thank you to Swedish Ambassador to North Korea, Mats Foyer, and the First Secretary and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Swedish Embassy in North Korea, Johan Eidman, for graciously serving as the vitally important communication channel to Aijalon during his incarceration.

We deeply appreciate the ongoing efforts of a multitude of men and women in the US Department of State who worked so hard for Aijalon's release.

And, we are so very grateful for the thoughts, prayers and good wishes of so many Americans who shared our pain, and can now share our joy.

For Aijalon, although returning home, the journey toward healing really just begins today.  Our family hopes that everyone will understand our strong need and desire to secure the privacy necessary for Aijalon to recover fully from this episode in his life.  We thank you in advance for respecting that privacy and sharing in our joyful homecoming today.


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