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

  • Rudy Giuliani joining Trump's Russia probe legal team

    World News CBC News
    ?Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a one-time federal prosecutor, is joining U.S. President Donald Trump's personal legal team, Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow said in a statement on Thursday. "Rudy is great. He has been my friend for a long time and wants to get this matter quickly resolved for the good of the country," Sekulow quoted Trump as saying. Source
  • Rudy Giuliani to join Trump legal team in Russia probe

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is joining the legal team defending U.S. President Donald Trump in the special counsel's Russia investigation. That's according to a statement from Trump personal attorney Jay Sekulow. Source
  • 8,000 Disneyland tickets worth about $800K stolen from youth group

    World News CTV News
    GALT, Calif. - Thieves made off with eight-thousand Disneyland tickets worth about 800-thousand dollars when they stole a box trailer from a youth agricultural education organization. The tickets were to have been distributed to participants at a conference in Southern California. Source
  • Edmonton police charge youth in sex trafficking case involving girl

    Canada News CTV News
    Edmonton police have laid human-trafficking charges against a youth accused of sexually exploiting a girl. Police say the youth met the girl at a mall and spent time with her for a month, showering her with expensive gifts. Source
  • Doug Ford says his company would benefit 'probably very little' from his own tax cut

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Ontario's Progressive Conservative leader acknowledged Thursday that his company would benefit, although "probably very little," from his proposal to cut corporate taxes, but said he would not personally stand to gain anything. Doug Ford, a businessman and former Toronto city councillor whose family owns and operates Deco Labels and Tags, has promised to cut the provincial corporate tax by one percentage point if the Tories are elected to power this spring. Source
  • Prominent Nunavut businessman faces $1.2M sex assault judgment

    Canada News CTV News
    IQALUIT, Nunavut -- A prominent Nunavut businessman has been ordered to pay $1.2 million in damages for almost 20 years of sexual assaults on four children. There's no guarantee that the victims of Ike Haulli will see any money, despite repeated abuse inflicted over years. Source
  • Hundreds apply to see or block the opening of adoption records in New Brunswick

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- Just weeks after the New Brunswick government opened a century of adoption records there is growing interest from people who want to know more about their past, and those who want that information kept secret. Source
  • Quebec City mosque leadership takes stand at shooter's sentencing hearing

    Canada News CTV News
    QUEBEC -- The head of a Quebec City mosque where six worshippers were gunned down addressed the author of the rampage directly in court Thursday and pointedly asked him why he committed the crimes. "Why? Why?," said Boufeldja Benabdallah, his eyes trained on killer Alexandre Bissonnette as he testified at his sentencing arguments. Source
  • 'People refer to us as Switzerland': King of Swaziland changes country's name

    World News CBC News
    Swaziland's King Mswati III, Africa's last absolute monarch, said Thursday he was officially renaming the country as the Kingdom of eSwatini. He announced the change to eSwatini, meaning "land of the Swazis," in the local Swati language at Golden Jubilee celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Swazi independence and of his 50th birthday. Source
  • Dash cam video captured by Manitoba courier sparks concerns about crosswalk safety

    Canada News CTV News
    When a woman was having trouble crossing a busy intersection in Selkirk, Manitoba, Rick Ritchie’s dash cam was there to capture every second. The video shows the pedestrian waiting on the side of the road as cars continue to speed through the marked crosswalk. Source