A Canadian pastor, who was imprisoned in North Korea, has been let go after two and a half years of being in detention
Hyeon Soo Lim is North Korea’s longest held western prisoner in decades. He was “released on sick bail” by the country’s top court for “humanitarian” reasons.
Lim’s son, James Lim, received the news over the weekend that a plane was carrying senior Canadian officials, a doctor, while a letter addressed to the North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un was dispatched to Pyongyang “at the last minute”.
Lim was imprisoned after being convicted of crimes against the state in December 2015. The 62-year-old’s health deteriorated while in North Korean custody and experienced severe weight loss.
The release of Hyeon Soo Lim comes amid increased tensions on the Korean Peninsula just after US President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with “fire and fury”, while Pyongyang said that it was considering a military strike against the US territory of Guam.
Worth mentioning is that Lim was serving a life sentence of hard labor. Moreover, his family stepped up calls for his release since the death of American university student Otto Warmbier in June.
Warmbier was detained in early 2016 and charged with attempting to steal a poster from his hotel. He died only six days after his release from North Korea due to brain injury that occurred while in custody. When he returned home to his family, he was in a vegetative state.
Since then, the US State Department has announced a travel ban that will take effect next month, preventing almost all US citizens from visiting North Korea, with the only exception of journalists and humanitarian workers.