North Korea says it released Canadian pastor

North Korea prisoner Lim Hyeon-soo Kim Jong-un

GETTY ALAMYA special envoy for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touched down in the secretive state

SEOUL | North Korea has freed Wednesday for medical reasons a pastor in canada who was serving a sentence of forced labour to life imprisonment for subversion, has announced the official agency KCNA.

Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency said that Hyeon Soo Lim was released on "sick bail" following a decision by the country's Central Court.

Detained in early 2015, Lim was sentenced to a life of hard labour on December 16, 2015 for "harming the dignity of the supreme leader, ' 'trying to use religion to destroy North Korea" and 'assisting North Koreans escape'.

A top Canadian official arrived in North Korea on Tuesday (8 August) seeking to get a jailed pastor released, following fears he might suffer the same fate as American student Otto Warmbier.

Mr Trudeau's spokesman Cameron Ahmad said the government considered Mr Lim's health of "utmost importance" but did not give more details about the delegation.

"A nuclear power like North Korea that has shown a level of irresponsibility", he said, pausing for several seconds as he searched for the right words, finally continuing, "fundamental irresponsibility-to not to use a word like insane which I will not use-is a real concern". Warmbier arrived to the U.S.in a vegetative state and died six days after his release.

In letters to family, friends, and members of his church in Mississauga, Ontario, Lim has complained of stomach pain and high blood pressure.

He had visited the country dozens of times and worked with orphanages and nursing homes as part of Christian missionaries. North Korean prosecutors also accused him of helping "lure and abduct" North Korean citizens, calling them defectors.

Three american citizens are still prisoners in North Korea, while relations between Pyongyang and Washington have become increasingly tense, fed by statements by the warriors of both sides.

He then added, Canada would "do whatever we can to ameliorate and defuse the situation with North Korea".

A year ago he was digging holes for eight hours a day in a labour camp, but claimed he was the "sole prisoner" when he spoke to CNN.

On Wednesday, North Korea said it was considering plans for a missile strike on the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, just hours after President Donald Trump told the North that any threat to the United States would be met with "fire and fury".

Latest News