North Korea has released Canadian citizen Lim Hyeon-soo from custody for humanitarian reasons, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Wednesday.
Lim, a Reverend at the Light Presbyterian Korean Church in Toronto, was sentenced to a life of hard labor by the North Korean regime in December of 2015 for numerous charges, including attempting to overthrow the North Korean government.
“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,” KCNA reported in Korean.
Lim’s release comes following the visit of a delegation from the Canadian Government to Pyongyang on Tuesday, which was led by Daniel Jean – a national security advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada.
Lim went missing during a trip to North Korea in January 2015 after traveling to the country in order to continue working on humanitarian projects previously established with the blessing of the North Korean government.
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.
He is the second foreign citizen to be released on what the North Koreans have termed “humanitarian grounds” in 2017, following the release of U.S. citizen Otto Warmbier in June.
Warmbier had been arrested in Pyongyang in early 2016 after he walked into a staff-only area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and took down a political slogan from a wall. He was subsequently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
Warmbier was in a coma when released by North Korean authorities, which according to the DPRK, was due to a rare case of botulism he contracted shortly after his sentencing in 2016.
Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center assessing Warmbier’s condition on his return concluded that the U.S. citizen had suffered significant brain damage and no signs of botulism were detected. On June 19, shortly after his release, Warmbier passed away at the age of 22.
Three American citizens remain in custody in North Korea.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
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