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

  • Indonesia raises ferry death toll to 166

    World News CTV News
    TIGARAS PORT, Indonesia - Indonesian officials said that 166 people are missing from a ferry sinking early this week at a popular lake on Sumatra, a much higher number than previously believed, as distraught and angry relatives pleaded Wednesday for a bigger search effort. Source
  • North Korea thanks China for support with Trump summit

    World News CTV News
    BEIJING - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un thanked Chinese President Xi Jinping for his support in last week's groundbreaking summit with President Donald Trump, the North's official media reported Wednesday. Kim is in Beijing on his third visit to China this year, underscoring the major improvement in relations between the communist neighbours. Source
  • Federal, Indigenous officials begin finalizing proposed languages act

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government is one step closer to creating a national Indigenous Languages Revitalization Act after government and Indigenous officials met in Yellowknife on Tuesday. The legislation is currently being co-developed between the federal, provincial and territorial ministers of culture and heritage and the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Métis Nation. Source
  • Toddler migrants held in at least 3 shelters in Texas

    World News CBC News
    Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three "tender age" shelters in south Texas, The Associated Press has learned. Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described playrooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. Source
  • Sunken boat found, three fishermen still missing near Tofino, B.C.

    Canada News CTV News
    TOFINO, B.C. -- A boat that went down off Vancouver Island has been found, but police say the search continues for three missing fishermen. RCMP say in a news release that an underwater dive team has recovered the vessel from waters near Tofino, B.C. Source
  • Youngest child migrants held in 'tender age' shelters in Texas

    World News CTV News
    In this Sunday, June 17, 2018, file photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas. Source
  • Lawyer claims young Toronto black man beaten into coma by officers, but police say it never happened

    Canada News CBC News
    An alleged case of police brutality making waves on social media — involving a 23-year-old black man whose lawyer says he was "beaten into a coma"— isn't what it's made out to be, say Toronto police. Toronto lawyer and mayoral candidate Saron Ghebresellassi took to Twitter on Monday night claiming Musie Ghebremichael, was "beaten almost to death by 14 Division" along with a photo of her client in critical care unit at Toronto Western Hospital breathing through a tube. Source
  • B.C. judge approves Victoria's plastic bag bylaw going into effect in July

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- The mayor of Victoria is hailing a court victory allowing the city to enact a bylaw that will prohibit grocery stores from offering or selling plastic bags to shoppers. Lisa Helps says in a news release that the B.C. Source
  • Senate passes pot bill, paving way for legal weed in 8 to 12 weeks

    Canada News CBC News
    Senators have voted to pass the federal government's bill legalizing recreational marijuana by a vote of 52 to 29, with two abstentions, paving the way for a fully legal cannabis market within eight to 12 weeks. "I'm feeling just great," said Sen. Source
  • Senate passes pot bill, paving way for legal cannabis in 8 to 12 weeks

    Canada News CBC News
    Senators have voted to pass the federal government's bill legalizing recreational marijuana by a vote of 52 to 29, with two abstentions, paving the way for a fully legal cannabis market within eight to 12 weeks. "I'm feeling just great," said Sen. Source