Seoul, Aug 9 (IANS) North Korea said on Wednesday that it has released an imprisoned Canadian pastor for humanitarian reasons amid escalating tensions on the Korean peninsula.
North Korea’s news agency KCNA reported that Lim Hyeon-su, a Korean-Canadian pastor imprisoned since 2015, was released on sick bail in line with the decision of the Central Court of the North.
Lim had been in captivity in the North since he entered the country via China on a humanitarian mission in January 2015, Yonhap news agency reported.
In December, the North’s highest court sentenced Lim to life in prison with hard labour, citing his “subversive plots” against the North’s regime. His release came one day after a special envoy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in the North.
Daniel Jean, National Security Adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister, and his party arrived in Pyongyang, the KCNA reported. The visit drew speculation that the envoy was to persuade the North to release the detained pastor.
Lim’s family has been urging the Canadian government to step up efforts to have him freed after US college student Otto Warmbier was released in a coma from North Korea in June following a 17-month detention and died days after a medical evacuation.