Korea: Life In Prison For Canadian Pastor

In a story that seems hard to believe in the 21st Century, the Supreme Court of North Korea delivered a sentence of life with hard labor to a 60+-year-old Canadian pastor for crimes against the State.

Pastor of the Light Korean Presbyterian Church, Hyeon Soo Lim bowed his head very humbly as the life sentence was handing out in a cold fashion.

His crimes:

Harming the dignity of The Supreme Leadership
Dispersing anti-Korea propaganda to Koreans outside the country
Using religion in an attempt to destroy the governmental system
Aiding defectors from North Korea
Collaborating with US and Korean officials to abduct North Korean citizens

The Canadian pastor had become sick while in prison, where’s he been held since February. Diplomats were finally granting access to Pastor Lim on Monday, following his sentencing on the 16th. Until that day, no visitation of any kind had been allowing since his incarceration ten months ago.

Lim, a Korean by birth, is a citizen of Canada since 1986. He has served as Senior Pastor for the impressive church in Toronto made up almost exclusively of Asian members.

Canada’s response

Speaking on behalf of Canada’s Global Affairs Department, Diana Khaddaj called the sentence “unduly harsh.” She went on to add that Korea’s prohibiting access to an imprisoned foreign citizen was a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Korea has received worldwide condemnation for this violation, and for the extreme sentence.

North Korea responded with “outrage” against the Canadian government, calling their words, “slanderous.”

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau says that the behavior of the government and legal system of North Korea is well knowing. He expresses deep concerned that about the prospects of Lim’s life sentence with hard labor. He asking Canadian citizens to avoid travel to the country altogether.

The Canadian pastor has made more than one hundred missionary trips to Korea in the past 18 years. This pressure and world spotlight are thought to have precipitating their allowing diplomats to see Lim after so long.