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North Korea Frees Canadian Pastor Sentenced to Life of Hard Labor

Mr. Lim, who had visited North Korea more than 100 times on what his church called humanitarian missions, lost contact with his congregation after entering the country in early 2015. A tearful Mr. Lim later appeared in a government-arranged news conference in Pyongyang and confessed to plotting to overthrow the North Korean leadership by undermining the “worship” of Kim Jong-un.

His church had supported a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage in North Korea since it began a mission there in 1996, when the country was in the grip of a famine that killed thousands of people.

Mr. Lim said during his news conference that the bags of food he had donated across North Korea had carried the sign of the cross and phrases from the Bible. North Korean prosecutors also accused him of helping “lure and abduct” North Korean citizens, calling them defectors.

North Korea, which zealously tries to shield its citizens from outside influences, has detained several foreign missionaries in recent years, calling them spies or agents of subversive ideas.

Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for trying to establish a secret proselytizing network, was freed in 2014, after the United States government sent its director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., to North Korea.

During his detention or trial, Mr. Lim’s family members were not allowed to visit him, and appealed repeatedly to North Korea to free him.

Source: NYT > World

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