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

  • 'This is a big moment:' U.K. government cautions on virus

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Fresh restrictions on social gatherings in England, potentially involving limiting pub opening hours, appear to be on the cards soon as the British government seeks to suppress a sharp spike in new coronavirus infections. Source
  • Taiwan scrambles air force as multiple Chinese jets buzz island

    World News CBC News
    Taiwan scrambled fighter jets on Friday as multiple Chinese aircraft buzzed the island, including crossing the sensitive mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, in an escalation of tensions the same day a senior U.S. official began meetings in Taipei. Earlier on Friday, China's Defence Ministry announced the start of combat drills near the Taiwan Strait, denouncing what it called collusion between the Chinese-claimed island and the United States. Source
  • Israel returns to virus lockdown as cases mount

    World News CTV News
    JERUSALEM -- Israel went back into a full lockdown on Friday to try to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has steadily worsened for months as its government has been plagued by indecision and infighting. The three-week lockdown, which began at 2 p.m. Source
  • Wetlands are burning: Worst fire season in a decade threatens Brazil's Pantanal

    World News CBC News
    The world's largest tropical wetland is not supposed to burn. And yet, Brazil's Pantanal is on fire. Thick smoke rises all around the village of Poconé as the wind whips it into little tornadoes. Fire crackles and races through the brush, jumping from forest to pasture to swamp. Source
  • White House pressure for more Iran sanctions is mainly serving to isolate U.S. from its allies

    World News CBC News
    This column is an opinion by Sam Khanlari, a Toronto-based writer and editor. For more information about CBC's Opinion section, please see the FAQ. The announcement of a nuclear accord between Iran and several world powers five years ago signalled the opening of a new chapter of relations between Tehran and the West. Source
  • Sorry to burst your COVID-19 'social bubble' but even small gatherings are getting riskier

    Canada News CBC News
    For months, Canadians have been bubbling up with other friends and family to socialize safely during the pandemic. But with COVID-19 case counts rising in many communities, kids back in schools and more people returning to work, many public health experts agree that what worked as a safe approach in the early days of the lockdown now comes with more risk. Source
  • Why doctors think you should get the flu shot this year — and soon

    Canada News CBC News
    As COVID-19 cases climb in many provinces, flu season is also on the horizon. Doctors say there's more interest in the flu shot this year — and there should be. But they're warning patients to get the shot sooner rather than later. Source
  • Why saliva testing for COVID-19 in Canada won't be a panacea for long lineups any time soon

    Canada News CBC News
    Canadians in several provinces face long lines for a swab to help diagnose COVID-19 as school and workplaces open. While new testing technologies could help, doctors say they won't be a silver bullet. The gold standard swab of the nose or throat can be uncomfortable. Source
  • Federal COVID-19 supports for Canadians with disabilities are too little, too late, advocates say

    Canada News CBC News
    More than six months into the global pandemic, the Liberal government is being accused of failing to meet the needs of the Canadians with disabilities who number among those hardest-hit by the public health crisis. Marie-Claude Landry, chief commissioner of the Canada Human Rights Commission, said COVID-19 has "expanded the circle of vulnerability" in Canada — but people with disabilities still aren't getting the support they need. Source
  • Why birds migrate through cities — and how you can help them succeed

    Canada News CBC News
    Hello, Earthlings! This is our weekly newsletter on all things environmental, where we highlight trends and solutions that are moving us to a more sustainable world. (Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Thursday.) This week:Why birds migrate through cities — and how you can help them succeedThe stone cold truth: Visualizing the loss of Arctic sea iceThe physical and emotional toll of far-off wildfiresTask force calls on Ottawa to spend billions on 'green recovery' Source