BOSTON — A friend of a Boston man facing trial in North Korea for illegally entering the communist country says he “is not a terrorist” but an English teacher dedicated to his students.

Marshalette Wise told The Associated Press in a phone interview today from South Korea that Aijalon Mahli Gomes is a religious man who attends church every Sunday in Seoul.

Wise is a 33-year-old Tuskegee, Ala., resident who trains English teachers in South Korea. She says Gomes liked to travel on his days off, but didn’t know why the 30-year-old would be in North Korea.

North Korea announced two months ago that an American was detained Jan. 25 for trespassing after crossing into the country from China and was under investigation.

On Monday, state-run media identified Gomes, 30, as the detainee and said “his crime has been confirmed.” The brief Korean Central News Agency dispatch did not say when he would stand trial..

A family spokeswoman says Gomes grew up in Boston and attended Bowdoin College in Maine before going to South Korea to teach.

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