North Korea releases Canadian pastor serving life sentence in prison

10 August, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • North Korea prisoner Lim Hyeon-soo

Mr. Lim said during his news conference that the bags of food he had donated across North Korea had carried the sign of the cross and phrases from the Bible.

While U.S. President Donald Trump was threatening North Korea with "fire and fury" as tensions between the two countries escalated Tuesday night, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau was taking a quieter line with Pyongyang-with great effect. "I used to think they deified their leaders too much, but as I read the memoirs of both Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, they never called themselves gods", he added.

"A nuclear power like North Korea that has shown a level of irresponsibility", he said, pausing for several seconds as he searched for the right words, finally continuing, "fundamental irresponsibility-to not to use a word like insane which I will not use-is a real concern".

Lim, accompanied by his wife and son, is expected to return to Canada on Thursday and will be hospitalised on arrival at his wife's request, a source familiar with the matter said.

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A plane carrying medical personnel, senior Canadian officials, and a letter to Kim Jong-un were sent to Pyongyang. But his family said he arrived in a state of coma, and eventually died on 19 June.

Canadian Senator Yonah Martin, who advocated for Lim's release, said Lim was hospitalised during his imprisonment.

"A Canadian government delegation is now in Pyongyang, DPRK, to discuss Pastor Lim's case", AFP news agency cited Trudeau spokesman Cameron Ahmad as saying, referring to North Korea's official name.

Since Lim, who formerly led Light Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was detained, the Korean community in numerous locations held multiple prayer gatherings for his release, including in Canada, the USA, and South Korea.

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Since 2010, most of the foreign nationals detained in North Korea have had ties to the church, including Americans Robert Park and Jeffrey Fowles and Australian John Short.

The US State Department has since announced a travel ban that will take effect next month, preventing almost all US citizens from visiting North Korea, with the exception of journalists and humanitarian workers.

He had carried out religious work and helped open an orphanage, and nursing home during one of what his family said was more than 100 visits.

Sitting down with reporters for the first time in January 2016, Lim said that he was the sole worker in that particular labor camp, digging holes for eight hours a day, six days a week.

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