North Korea Finally Frees Foreign Pastor After Years In Detention


Armed North Korean soldiers patrol the banks of Yalu River near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border city of Dandong, May 20, 2011. Confusion surrounded a North Korean visit to China on Friday, as media in the South said the North’s leader Kim Jong-il had crossed the border, contradicting earlier reports that his son and heir apparent Kim Jong-un had travelled. REUTERS/Jacky Chen
China/Asia Pacific Repo


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

Hyeon Soo Lim was “released on sick bail” Wednesday for “humanitarian reasons,” according to North Korean state media. Lim was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against the state two years ago, and since then, the 62-year-old inmate’s health has deteriorated.

Lim was sentenced to “indefinite hard labor” for “hostile deeds against the DPRK.”

He experienced “dramatic” weight loss during his incarceration. A plane carrying medical personnel, senior Canadian officials, and a letter to Kim Jong-un were sent to Pyongyang. The Canadian team arrived in North Korea Monday.

Lim’s release follows the medical release of American prisoner Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who was sent home in a coma. Warmbier died one week after returning home.

The North is still holding three U.S. citizens and at least six South Koreans.

The U.S. recently issued a ban restricting travel to North Korea for U.S. citizens, and that ban is expected to go into effect in early September. The North has said, however, that its doors remain open to any American citizens interested in visiting the country.

Tensions between North Korea and the U.S. are on the rise, as North Korea has threatened to take punitive action against the U.S. in response to new sanctions, as well as other perceived provocations. President Donald Trump warnedTuesday that North Korea’s threats will be met with “fire and fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

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