Pastor freed by N. Korea on way to Canada

Posted August 11, 2017

"Rim Hyon Su [Lim Hyeon Soo], a Canadian civilian, was released on sick bail according to the decision of the Central Court of the DPRK on August 9, 2017, from the humanitarian viewpoint", North Korea's official news agency KCNA said.

Lim was serving a life sentence of hard labor after being convicted of crimes against the state in December 2015.

The Globe and Mail reports that pastor Lim's church - Light Korean Presbyterian church in Mississauga, Ontario - was "ecstatic" at the news of his release.

Mr. Lim's apparent release comes after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's national security adviser Daniel Jean travelled to Pyongyang this week with a Canadian delegation to lobby for the pastor's release.

The seriousness of Pastor Lim's situation became even more clear after the death of USA student Otto Warmbier earlier this year, after his release from North Korean imprisonment.

Three Americans are now detained in North Korea, as well as six South Korean nationals. "In particular, I want to thank Sweden, our protecting power in North Korea, for assisting us", Trudeau said. The North Koreans permitted that medicine to be sent to Lim, via the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang.

President Trump and North Korean officials this week are exchanging bellicose words over the regime's nuclear missile program.

Lim is apparently in poor health and has lost weight.

"We're relieved to hear" that the pastor Lim, 62 years of age, "is headed for the house to finally find her family", said Lisa Park, a spokesman for the family said in a statement.

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In a statement Thursday, a spokeswoman for his family said "there is a long way to go" in terms of Lim's healing and stressed the need for privacy as he receives unspecified medical attention.

Lim told CNN a year ago he spent his days in prison digging holes.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous, described it as a "special unchartered flight bound for Japan", with which North Korea has no commercial aviation ties.

He had stolen a propaganda poster from a hotel in 2016.

Since then, the USA announced a travel ban for Americans visiting North Korea with the exception of humanitarian workers and journalists.

It quoted the person who took the photograph as saying that the flight, which had no number, was carrying Lim, who was released on Wednesday by North Korea on humanitarian grounds.

A Canadian pastor was on his way home Thursday after being released from a North Korean prison where he spent the last two years, according to his family and the prime minister.

"We have been consistently requesting the North Korean government to release and return our citizens held captive there".