12/16/2015, 00.00
Send to a friend

Pyongyang sentences Canadian Christian missionary to life in prison

Reverend Lim Hyeon-soo, 60, leads the Light Korean Presbyterian Church of Toronto. He had disappeared in January 2015, on entering North Korea. Over the past few decades he has made about a hundred visits to the country under the Kim regime, all for humanitarian purposes. Accused of plotting to overthrow the state, he will have to serve his sentence in a labor camp.

Seoul (AsiaNews) - The Supreme People's Court of North Korea has sentenced a Canadian Protestant Christian missionary to life imprisonment for "crimes against the state".

Lim Hyeon-soo, 60, reportedly "confessed" to a "subversive plan" to overthrow the government and create a State of a religious nature in its place. He had "disappeared" in February 2015, and since then nothing had been heard of him until the sentencing.

Head of the Light Korean Presbyterian Church, based near Toronto, the Rev. Lim will have to serve the sentence in a hard labor camp. He is also being charged with organizing a human trafficking to South Korea, China and Mongolia. His faithful argue that over the years he "may have helped" the North Koreans to flee the regime, but always and only at their request.

Rev. Lim has made more than 100 trips to North Korea, and is described as "entirely non-political". The visits were carried out all humanitarian grounds, especially to aid the elderly and orphans. A Canadian citizen, the man was born on the Korean Peninsula: however, his adopted country does not have a diplomatic presence in the country and have always recommended their citizens not to visit the DPRK.
In recent years the Protestant Christian missionaries were often the subject of legal proceedings in North Korea. Australian missionary John Short, 75, was stopped on Feb. 16, 2014 on charges of "distributing religious material".  He was released March 3 "for humanitarian reasons".

The position of US citizens is more complex: the last two Americans to fall into the hands of Pyongyang - Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller - were only released after years in prison, and thanks to intense diplomatic activity.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang rise as Cold War fears cast a shadow over Korea
12/02/2016 15:14
North Korea, Protestant pastor "missing" for over a month
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
Kim Jong-un reportedly in coma: His sister is running the country
24/08/2020 11:38
Catholic music to promote dialogue in Ambon, the city of sectarian violence
17/10/2018 13:29


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”