North Korea’s highest court has sentenced a South Korean-born Canadian pastor to hard labor for life for subversion.
Lim Hyeon-soo, the head pastor at a Toronto church that is one of Canada’s largest, has been held by North Korea since February, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported Wednesday.
Earlier this year, he appeared on North Korean state media confessing to crimes against the state.
In July, Lim appeared at a news conference in North Korea and confessed he had traveled to the country on the pretext of humanitarian work and gathered information that he used in sermons outside the country to try to drive the regime to a collapse “with the love of God”.
His church, the 3,000-member Light Korean Presbyterian Church, has said Lim has visited the North more than 100 times since 1997 and has helped establish an orphanage and a nursing home there.
Lim has lived in Canada since 1986 and is a Canadian citizen.
His church said in March that Lim, who was 60 at the time, has “a very serious health problem, very high blood pressure, he’s on a prescription, and his family is anxious to send medicine.”
North Korea and its neighbor China have clamped down on Christian groups in recent years.
Pyongyang sentenced a Korean-American missionary, Kenneth Bae, to 15 years of hard labor but released him last year after holding him for two years.
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