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North Korea Frees Canadian Pastor Sentenced to Life of Hard Labor

11 August 2017

Lim was released Wednesday, when the same court made a decision to free him on sick bail, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.

Hyeon Soo Lim, 62, disappeared in North Korea in February 2015 and in December of that year was sentenced for "subversive acts against Pyongyang".

In June of this year, US university student Otto Warmbier was released from North Korea in a comatose state and died shortly after his return to the U.S.

Daniel Jean, national security advisor to the prime minister of Canada, and his party arrived in Pyongyang, the KCNA reported on Tuesday.

Mr. Lipman was involved in helping to free Canadian humanitarian worker Je Yell Kim from North Korea in 2008. The North Koreans permitted that medicine to be sent to Lim, via the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang.

His statement continued, 'Pastor Lim's health and well-being remain of utmost importance to the Government of Canada, and we are working to ensure that he receives any required medical attention.' That was all he could reveal at the moment, ' Operational security considerations prevent us from discussing the matter further, ' the prime minister said. 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.

The flight was scheduled to leave the North Korean capital at 9.25am local time (0155 GMT) and was bound for the U.S. air force base in Yokota, near Tokyo, according to NK News. Prior to his release, Lim's family expressed concern for his health as he was known to have lost a significant amount of weight, and to have complained of stomach pain.

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The pastor also said he asked the authorities for a copy of the Bible, and revealed that he continues to pray for the unification of North and South Korea, and that no one will ever have to suffer through the same experience he has.

North Korea is ranked #1 on Open Door USA's World Watch List of countries where Christians face the most persecution. In an interview with the network in 2016, he said he prayed daily and was the sole prisoner in his camp, where he was forced to dig holes eight hours a day, six days a week.

"We're so happy he's been released, " Baik said from outside the church.

The U.S. government subsequently banned its citizens from traveling to North Korea as tourists.

Lim will meet his granddaughter for the first time when he returns home, according to a statement from his family.

"Our government welcomes the release of pastor Lim Hyeon-soo, who had been detained in North Korea", Cho June-hyuck, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a press briefing.

North Korea Frees Canadian Pastor Sentenced to Life of Hard Labor