Korea frees Canadian missionary jailed since 2015

Aaron Brown
August 10, 2017

PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of - Staff from the Prime Minister's Office is in Pyongyang, North Korea, to discuss the case of imprisoned Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said that Hyeon Soo Lim was released on "sick bail" following a decision by the country's Central Court.

North Korea has released a Korean-Canadian pastor after detaining him for several years.

Detained in early 2015, Lim was sentenced to a life of hard labour on December 16, 2015 for "harming the dignity of the supreme leader, ' 'trying to use religion to destroy North Korea" and 'assisting North Koreans escape'.

Mr Lim was serving a life sentence of hard labour for "crimes against the state" which he began in December 2015.

His release comes two months after American college student Otto Warmbier was freed from North Korea, but died shortly after.

The Canadian government is not confirming the release yet, but did acknowledge that it sent a delegation to discuss the case.

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"Strategically, North Korea perhaps hopes to engender some goodwill from Canada as tensions rise", said Charles Burton, a former Canadian diplomat in China.

He died from aa catastrophic brain injury days after his release in June.

His family said he had been traveling to and from North Korea on humanitarian trips to establish orphanages, nurseries and nursing homes and had visited the country more than 100 times in the past 20 years.

North Korea has in the past attracted the attention of Washington and visits by high-profile Americans with the detention and release of United States citizens.

Interviewed previous year in Pyongyang by the american news channel CNN, the pastor, the shaved head and gray uniform of a prisoner, was told that his work as a prisoner was to dig holes for planting apple trees in the orchard of his prison.

He then added, Canada would "do whatever we can to ameliorate and defuse the situation with North Korea".

The Canadian delegation arrived on the same day US President Donald Trump warned that Pyongyang would be met "with fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which the world has never seen before", if it does not stop threatening the US.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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