N. Korea frees jailed Canadian pastor

Mr Lim Hyeon Soo was arrested for allegedly meddling in North Korean state affairs.
Mr Lim Hyeon Soo was arrested for allegedly meddling in North Korean state affairs.

SEOUL • A Canadian pastor serving a life sentence with hard labour in North Korea was released yesterday on medical parole as a humanitarian gesture, the KCNA news agency said.

Mr Lim Hyeon Soo, 61, was freed on "sick bail", the agency announced after a Canadian government delegation, including National Security Adviser Daniel Jean, visited Pyongyang this week to discuss the case.

A court ordered Mr Lim's release "from the humanitarian viewpoint", it said in a brief two-paragraph report.

Mr Lim was arrested in 2015 for allegedly meddling in North Korean state affairs. The South Korean-born pastor had been accused of subversive acts against Pyongyang, an allegation which the Canadian authorities strongly denied. Mr Lim's family told the media they had become increasingly worried about his welfare since the death of American student Otto Warmbier in June, days after being freed by North Korea.

At the time of Mr Lim's arrest, members of the circle of ethnic Korean missionaries in Canada and the United States called him one of the most influential Christian missionaries in North Korea.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'N. Korea frees jailed Canadian pastor'. Print Edition | Subscribe