Korea frees Canadian missionary jailed since 2015

The pastor's family asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for help in securing Lim's release from the country.

Detained in early 2015, Lim was sentenced to a life of hard labour on December 16, 2015 for "harming the dignity of the supreme leader, ' 'trying to use religion to destroy North Korea" and 'assisting North Koreans escape'.

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

Cameron Ahmad says in the statement it is an active case and the government would not be commenting further.

Lim was "released on sick bail" by North Korea's top court for "humanitarian" reasons, KCNA said. Especially after the fate of Otto Warmbier (the American student who died after being freed in June), they remain concerned about his health.

Mr Lim has complained of stomach pain and high blood pressure in letters home to Mississauga, Ontario.

According to his family, Lim has made more than 100 trips to North Korea since 1997, and his humanitarian efforts have includedthe founding by his church of a nursery, orphanage, and nursing home in the northeastern city of Rajin.

In March 2015 it emerged that Lim had been arrested, and he was subsequently sentenced to a life sentence of hard labor in December of the same year for numerous charges, including what DPRK authorities claimed was an attempt to overthrow the government.

Canadian officials said on Tuesday a delegation led by the country's national security adviser had gone to North Korea to discuss Lim's case.

Their pleas came in the aftermath of the death of Otto Warmbier, the USA citizen who was held in captivity by North Korea and released only to die a few days later. The Canadian team arrived in North Korea Monday.

At least three United States citizens remain in North Korean custody.

CNN interviewed the pastor in January 2016, finding he was forced to work eight hours a day, six days a week, in a camp where he had never seen another inmate.

Tensions between North Korea and the USA are on the rise, as North Korea has threatened to take punitive action against the U.S.in response to new sanctions, as well as other perceived provocations.


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