A Canadian pastor who’s been detained in North Korea for the past 10 months has been sentenced to life in prison in the communist dictatorship.
The Reverend Hyeon Soo Lim, a 60-year-old minister from the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was accused of joining the United States and South Korea in “anti-DPRK human rights ‘racket’ and fabricating and circulating false propaganda materials tarnishing the country’s image,” according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
Lim traveled to North Korea from China in January of 2015 on a routine humanitarian trip. He was arrested in February after having visited the country more than 100 times.
In North Korea, Lim was trotted out for a news conference where he gave a coerced confession.
“The purpose that I traveled about several parts of the country on the pretext of ‘aid’ was to build a base to overthrow the system of the country and create a religious state, taking advantage of the policies of the U.S. and South Korean authorities,” Lim said, according to The Associated Press.
Shortly after the original “confession,” North Korea released more footage of another confession. At that time, he was shown to have admitted to conducting activities aimed at toppling the North Korean government; he apparently also professed his guilt for violating North Korea’s Ebola quarantine policy.
Canadian consular officials spoke with North Korean delegates at several United Nations meetings, and two delegations from the Canadian Embassy in Seoul attempted to win Lim’s freedom as recently as October.
Canada’s new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is now tasked with bringing Lim home.
What Do You Think?
Do you think it’s foolish to travel to countries such as North Korea? Lim’s family and friends insist that he was committed to helping people, and that was his sole motivation for visiting the reclusive country. Did he make a mistake?