Boston: An American jailed in North Korea was allowed to call home for the first time since being sentenced to eight years` hard labour, as the United States urged his release.
Thaleia Schlesinger, a spokeswoman for Aijalon Mahli Gomes` family in his hometown of Boston, said that Gomes spoke with his mother yesterday.
"Yes, she did receive a phone call from her son in North Korea. She was really quite surprised and relieved," Schlesinger said.
"She is grateful to the government for allowing him to call. She has no other comment but to say she was thankful to hear his voice."
The 30-year-old from Boston was jailed by North Korea on April 06 and fined 7000,000 USD and won for illegal border crossing.
Gomes` mother did no reveal more about the conversation, Schlesinger said, "but she did say she is praying for him and for his safe return."
Pyongyang said it had allowed Gomes to make the call.
"US citizen Aijalon Mahli Gomes... asked for a phone contact with his family for his health and other reasons," the North`s official Korean Central News Agency said.
"The relevant organ of the Democratic People`s Republic of Korea, taking his request into consideration, permitted him to do so on Friday."