Hyeon Soo Lim, Korean Canadian Pastor, Released from Detainment, North Korea Says

Marsha Scott
August 11, 2017

He was released on medical and humanitarian grounds, according to the Central Court of North Korea, the state-owned KCNA news agency reported.

He was given a life sentence of hard labor for allegedly trying to overthrow the regime.

Hyeon Soo Lim, the Canadian pastor freed by North Korea this week, is believed to have arrived in Japan on a rare flight from Pyongyang global airport.

A Canadian delegation led by Daniel Jean, the national security adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, was in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang this week to discuss Lim's case.

Lim's family had become increasingly anxious about his welfare since the death of American student Otto Warmbier in June, just days after he had been released from a North Korean prison.

The Canadian pastor was punished for defaming the supreme leadership, using religion to disrupt the country's system, helping American and South Korean to abduct North Korean citizens, spreading negative propaganda about the country overseas.

This file photo taken on February 29, 2016 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 1, 2016 shows USA student Otto Frederick Warmbier (R), speaking at a press conference in Pyongyang. North Korea has been overall turning a deaf ear to the Moon Jae-in government's offer to resume inter-Korean dialogue.

The release of Korean-Canadian Lim Hyeon-su comes amid escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsular stemming from the North's continued provocations.

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Three US citizens remain in custody as relations with Washington have grown increasingly tense.

The measure is part of the new round of sanctions adopted on August 5 by the United Nations Security Council in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile activities in clear violation of previous U.N. Security Council resolutions. Lim likewise lost a significant amount of weight through the ordeal.

"North Korea is concerned he would die in prison", former Canadian diplomat Charles Burton told Reuters.

Lim (62) was imprisoned in North Korea in 2015.

Lim has visited the country more than 100 times for humanitarian activities since 1997. In an interview with the network in 2016, he said he prayed daily and was the sole prisoner in his camp, where he was forced to dig holes eight hours a day, six days a week.

"I believe in the power of prayer", said Cho, who has known Lim for two decades.

The U.S. recently issued a ban restricting travel to North Korea for U.S. citizens, and that ban is expected to go into effect in early September.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous, described it as a "special unchartered flight bound for Japan", with which North Korea has no commercial aviation ties.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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