Saturday, 19 August, 2017

North korea: a pastor canadian, jailed, released for medical reasons

North Korea prisoner Lim Hyeon-soo ALAMYLim Hyeon-soo was sentenced to life behind bars with hard labour
Howard Terry | 10 August, 2017, 00:11

The office of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier said that a delegation led by his national security adviser, Daniel Jean, arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday to discuss Mr Lim's imprisonment.

In December, the North's highest court sentenced Lim to life in prison with hard labor, citing his "subversive plots" against the North's regime. The 62-year-old's health has deteriorated while in North Korean custody and the pastor has experienced "dramatic" weight loss, Pak said.

Their pleas came in the aftermath of the death of Otto Warmbier, the USA citizen who was held in captivity by North Korea and released only to die a few days later.

Lim was charged with included harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, disseminating negative propaganda about the North to overseas Koreans and helping American and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens, along with aiding their programs to assist defectors from the North.

"So far, it has been confirmed that government officials and a doctor are accompanying Reverend Lim", said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to media.

He died just six days after his release from North Korea due to a brain injury sustained while in custody.

The pastor went to North Korea on January 31, 2015 for a humanitarian mission, one of more than 100 trips to the country since 1997, to support an orphanage, nursery and nursing home, his relatives and colleagues have said.

Via the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang his family has been able to send medication, but they have not seen him. His supporters have said he was on a humanitarian mission to North Korea when he was detained.

North Korea is still holding three Americans.

According to his family, Lim has made more than 100 trips to North Korea since 1997, and his humanitarian efforts have includedthe founding by his church of a nursery, orphanage, and nursing home in the northeastern city of Rajin.

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 had been under the penalty of indefinite hard labor as he conducted hostile deeds against the DPRK, ' the agency added.

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