Vigil to be held on Parliament Hill for Toronto pastor in North Korean prison

OTTAWA - Hundreds of supporters of a Canadian pastor serving a life sentence in North Korea are to demonstrate on Parliament Hill today to urge the government to press for his release.

See Full Article

Hyeon Soo Lim, a pastor with the Light Korean Presbyterian Church of Mississauga, Ont., was sentenced by a North Korean court to life in prison at hard labour for what it called crimes against the state.

Among other things, he was charged with harming the dignity of North Korea's supreme leader and trying to use religion to destroy the country's system.

Last month, CNN was granted extraordinary access to Lim and broadcast a televised interview in which he described his eight-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week regime of hard labour and said his North Korean jailers had yet to honour his request for a Bible.

Richard Ha, a spokesman for his church, told The Canadian Press that Lim steered clear of politics on previous trips to North Korea.

He said he was focused on helping orphans and others living in poverty.

"It's just his heart," said Ha. "Having a heart for the people of North Korea and wanting to help in any way that he can - he's driven by his faith."

Ha said about 300 supporters will hold a prayer vigil on the lawn of Parliament Hill today, calling on the government to take more action at a higher level to ask for his freedom. A petition with 165,000 signatures calling for his release will also be highlighted.

"What started as a petition by two Edmonton women has grown into a global movement that has secured the support of tens and tens of thousands," said Kathryn Semogas, the Canadian spokeswoman with the petition platform Change.org.

Foreign affairs critic Tony Clement is to hold a news conference on the Hill as well to urge more action.

Ha said Lim's family and his congregation are grateful for everything Canada has done so far to try to win his release, but they want to bring attention to his cause.

At the same time, they are also walking a fine line and don't want to do anything to anger North Korea's leadership. The hermit kingdom, cloistered from the world, is pursuing a nuclear bomb while many of its civilians starve.

Lim, who turned 61 on Tuesday, needs medication to control his diabetes, said Ha.

Ha said Swedish diplomats in North Korea have been allowed to bring medication to Lim in prison, but to his knowledge he has been denied all other visits.

Canada, like many countries, does not have an embassy in North Korea, and has advised against all travel there.

Lim has a wife and adult son living in the Toronto area.

Lim told CNN that his faith has not been shaken, and he continues to pray.

"Nobody knows if I will ever go home, but that is my hope. I miss my family. I am longing to see them again, and my congregation," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Family pins hopes on posters in unsolved case of 8 slain in Ohio

    World News CTV News
    In this Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 photo, a private property sign guards the boarded up garage on property on Union Hill Road near the trailer where the bodies of Dana Rhoden and her children, Chris Rhoden Jr. Source
  • Trump in final push to win votes to repeal Obamacare

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday was set to make a final push on Thursday to secure the votes to begin dismantling Obamacare in the House of Representatives, with signs that enough Republicans might defect to jeopardize one of his top legislative priorities. Source
  • Former Russian lawmaker shot dead in Ukraine

    World News CTV News
    KIEV, Ukraine -- A former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed in Kyiv Thursday in what Ukrainian police described as a contract hit probably ordered by Russia. Ukrainian Prosecutor-General Yuriy Lutsenko blamed the Kremlin for Voronenkov's killing, saying Russia wanted to punish him for his testimony to Ukrainian investigators. Source
  • Let there be light: German scientists test 'world’s largest artificial sun'

    World News Toronto Sun
    BERLIN — Scientists in Germany flipped the switch Thursday on what’s being described as “the world’s largest artificial sun” and which they hope will help shed light on new ways of making climate-friendly fuel. The giant honeycomb-like setup of 149 spotlights — officially known as “Synlight” — in Juelich, about 30 kilometres (19 miles) west of Cologne, uses xenon short-arc lamps normally found in cinemas to simulate natural sunlight that’s often in short supply in Germany at this time of…
  • Exiled former Russian lawmaker shot dead in Kyiv

    World News CBC News
    Former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed in Kyiv Thursday in what the Ukrainian president described as an "act of state terrorism" by Russia. President Petro Poroshenko said Voronenkov's killing "clearly shows the handwriting of Russian special services shown repeatedly in various European capitals in the past. Source
  • Husky crude oil spill in southwest Alberta estimated at 25,000 litres

    Canada News CBC News
    Husky Energy says about 25,000 litres of crude oil leaked from one of its pipelines in southwestern Alberta last week. Spokesman Mel Duvall said in an email to The Canadian Press that cleanup at the site at Cox Hill Creek west of Bragg Creek is progressing well. Source
  • 'We get paycheques': Non-profit bakery offers paying jobs to adults with disabilities

    Canada News CTV News
    A B.C. bakery is winning hearts, minds and wallets with tasty treats made by bakers with developmental disabilities, who have helped transform the operation from a volunteer opportunity into a paying business. The Mindful Mouthful Bakery in Duncan, B.C. Source
  • London attacker ID'd as British and was known to intelligence services, PM says [Photos] [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    The man who mowed down pedestrians on a London bridge and fatally stabbed a police officer on Parliament’s grounds was born in Britain and was known to intelligence services, the prime minister said Thursday. Theresa May, who didn’t disclose the man’s name, said that he was once investigated for extremism links, but was considered a peripheral figure. Source
  • Putin critic shot dead in Ukraine

    World News Toronto Sun
    KIEV, Ukraine — A former Russian lawmaker Denis Voronenkov was shot and killed in Kyiv Thursday in what the Ukrainian president described as an “act of state terrorism” by Russia. President Petro Poroshenko said Voronenkov’s killing “clearly shows the handwriting of Russian special services shown repeatedly in various European capitals in the past. Source
  • IRA chief, peacemaker McGuinness to be laid to rest in Derry

    World News CTV News
    DUBLIN - The Northern Ireland city of Londonderry is filling with mourners for the funeral of former IRA commander and Sinn Fein deputy leader Martin McGuinness, who helped lead his militant movement to compromise with British Protestants. Source