Canada 'dismayed' at life sentence handed to pastor in North Korea

Canadian officials say they're "dismayed" by the life sentence handed down to an Ontario pastor who was found guilty by a North Korean court of crimes against the state.

See Full Article

Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim, who pastors the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was given the sentence after a 90-minute trial before the country's Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"Canada is dismayed at the unduly harsh sentence given to Mr. Lim by a North Korean court, particularly given his age and fragile health," Francois Lasalle, acting director of Global Affairs Canada, said in a statement to CTV News on Wednesday.

Lim travelled to North Korea in January as part of a humanitarian mission and he has been in detention in the communist country since February.

His family said Lim, who's in his early 60s, has made more than 100 trips to North Korea since 1997.

"Despite repeated requests, Canadian officials have not been able to meet with him to verify his health and well-being," Lasalle said.

Officials said the first opportunity they had to see Lim since his arrest was during his trial. LaSalle said North Korea violated the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which safeguards the right of states have consular access to their citizens.

"Like Mr. Lim's family and friends, the Government of Canada remains concerned for his rights and well-being and wishes to see him return to Canada,” Lasalle said.

His family has said Lim travels to North Korean as part of a regular humanitarian mission, where he supports a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage.

Lim's charges included harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, disseminating negative propaganda about the country to Koreans overseas, helping American and South Korean authorities lure and abduct North Korean citizens, and helping defectors from the North.

In July, Lim appeared at a news conference organized by North Korean authorities in Pyongyang and admitted to plotting to overthrow the North Korean state.

Other foreigners detained in North Korea and later released have said they were coerced into making similar statements and confessing guilt during their detention.

With files from The Canadian Press



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Armenia votes in election triggered by war defeat

    World News CTV News
    YEREVAN, ARMENIA -- Polls have closed in Armenia's national parliamentary election that was held to try to resolve tensions over last year's defeat in fighting against Azerbaijan over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Sunday's early election was called by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in a bid to ease public anger over the peace deal he signed in November, which set off months of protests demanding his resignation. Source
  • Biden to meet with Afghan President Ghani as violence surges

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Joe Biden will meet at the White House with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the chairman of Afghanistan's High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah on Friday to discuss U.S. troop withdrawal amid a surge in fighting between Afghan forces and the Taliban across the country. Source
  • Ducharme feels 'helpless' watching Habs from home after positive COVID-19 test

    Canada News CBC News
    Dominique Ducharme felt helpless. The Montreal Canadiens interim head coach — hours after testing positive for COVID-19 — was sitting at home as his team battled in the third round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. And all he could do was watch. Source
  • Hot air balloon crash-lands outside Denver, injuring three passengers

    World News CTV News
    A hot air balloon crash-landed at Chatfield State Park outside Denver on Sunday morning, injuring several passengers, the Jefferson County Sheriff said. Three passengers were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and three others are doing OK, the sheriff said on Twitter. Source
  • 5-year-old girl in life-threatening condition after birthday party shooting in Toronto

    Canada News CBC News
    A five-year-old girl remains in life-threatening condition following a shooting during an outdoor children's birthday party in the Rexdale neighbourhood of northwest Toronto on Saturday evening, police say. An 11-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man who were also shot remain in non-life-threatening condition in hospital, said Toronto police spokesperson Const. Source
  • Taiwan welcomes U.S. vaccine aid, bolstering its COVID fight

    World News CTV News
    TAOYUAN, TAIWAN -- Taiwan welcomed 2.5 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from the United States on Sunday as help from a true friend, more than doubling the major semiconductor-producing island's arsenal of shots as it deals with a cluster of domestic infections. Source
  • Urgent reforms needed to military justice system to protect misconduct victims: Fish

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- A retired Supreme Court judge is calling for urgent reforms to Canada's military justice system to prevent victims of misconduct, sexual and otherwise, from continuing to suffer. Morris Fish says the current system is rife with areas where the potential for interference in police investigations and courts martial from the chain of command exists, which is why action is needed now. Source
  • Sask. starts Step 2 of reopening roadmap

    Canada News CTV News
    REGINA -- Saskatchewan began the second phase of its reopening plan Sunday as certain public health measures loosened across the province. Step 2, which was triggered when 70 per cent of people age 30 and older got their first dose, will see capacity limits in stores lifted and restaurants will no longer have a limit on the number of people allowed to sit together at a table. Source
  • Tropical depression Claudette kills at least 12 in Alabama as storm lashes southeastern U.S.

    World News CBC News
    Tropical depression Claudette claimed 12 lives in Alabama as the storm swept across the southeastern United States, causing flash flooding and spurring tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes. Ten people, including nine children, were killed Saturday in a two-vehicle crash, according to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock, who said the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads. Source
  • Women twice as likely as men to continue wearing masks as Canada reopens: survey

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- Women were more than twice as likely as men to say they’ll keep wearing masks in crowded places when their community reopens, according to a new survey by Nanos Research, with 32 per cent of women saying they would continue to wear face coverings compared to just 16 per cent of males. Source