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Canadian pastor returns home after being released from labour camp in North Korea

He was released after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security advisor, Daniel Jean visited Pyongyang.

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim waves to the congregation as he arrives at the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga in Ontario yesterday.
Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim waves to the congregation as he arrives at the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga in Ontario yesterday.
Image: Frank Gunn/Press Association

A CANADIAN PASTOR imprisoned in North Korea for more than two years returned home over the weekend, days after being released.

Hyeon Soo Lim, 62, was arrested in January 2015 on charges of subversive activities against the North Korean regime, an accusation denied by Ottawa.

Although sentenced to hard labour for life, he was granted “sick bail” following a visit to Pyongyang by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national security advisor, Daniel Jean.

“I believe Kim Jong Un let me go as a gesture of goodwill in the face of so much rhetoric,” Hyeon Soo Lim told reporters yesterday.

“Today, we join Pastor Lim’s family and congregation in celebrating his long-awaited return to Canada,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a press statement.

“Canada has been actively engaged on Mr. Lim’s case at all levels, and we will continue to support him and his family now that he has returned,” it added.

Canada Korean Pastor Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim greets members of the congregation after being released from North Korea. Source: Frank Gunn/Press Association

His liberation came at a moment of high tensions between North Korea and the United States. Three Americans remain in the custody of the regime of Kim Jong-Un.

Pyongyang has threatened to launch missiles on the island Guam, a strategic US outpost in the Pacific some 3,300 kilometres from North Korea.

US President Donald Trump for his part as promised to rain down “fire and fury” on Kim’s regime.

Canada Korean Pastor Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim is welcomed home. Source: Chris Young

Lim, who belongs to the Light Korean Presbyterian Church, was considered at the time of his arrest one of the most influential Christian missionaries in North Korea.

He had previously travelled extensively in the country to work in orphanages and hospitals.

But some projects he worked on, including a noodle plant and flour mills, were linked to associates of Jang Song-Thaek, the purged uncle of leader Kim.

Jang was arrested and executed for treason in December 2013.

© AFP 2017 

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