Canadian pastor sentenced to life in prison in North Korea

Mohammad Hakim, News Reporter

North Korea’s Supreme Court has sentenced a Canadian pastor to life in prison with hard labour for what it called crimes against the state. Hyeon Soo Lim, a 60 year old pastor at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was sentenced after a 90-minute trial. He had been in detention since February. The crimes he 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 the overseas Koreans, and helping U.S. and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens, along with aiding their programs to assist defectors from the North. Lim’s relatives and colleagues have said he traveled on Jan. 31 on a regular humanitarian mission to North Korea where he supports a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage. They said Lim has made more than 100 trips to North Korea since 1997 and that his trips were about helping people and were not political. North Korea has very strict rules against any missionary or religious activities that it sees as threatening the supremacy of its ruling regime. Merely leaving a Bible in a public place can lead to arrest and severe punishment.

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