The North Korean Supreme Court has sentenced Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim to life in prison with hard labour. The state prosecutors had actually sought the death penalty.
|The Court described Lim's activities as crimes against the state. These included harming the dignity of the supreme leadership, attempting to use religion to destroy the North Korean system, and disseminating negative propaganda about North Korea to Koreans overseas. The charges also included helping U.S. and South Korean authorities to lure and abduct North Korean citizens, and helping them to assist defectors. Perhaps some of these charges are correct. Some of the charges would never merit punishment in many countries.|
"There was a press conference in Pyongyang, and he was asked to go and say some statements about his allegations and charges. The Chinese media and the state media were there. That's the most that we know, that the press conference happened and he admitted, I use that word very lightly, to some charges."Quite possibly he was tortured but apparently those accused may admit guilt when they are promised a lighter sentence for doing so. Lim's lawyer noted Lim had confessed to his offences, asked for another chance, and had promised he would not do anything bad again.This probably saved him from the death penalty. Had Lim been a North Korean, he might just have disappeared or have received the death penalty.
"This is a serious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the right of states to have consular access to their citizens, Like Mr. Lim's family and friends, the government of Canada remains concerned for his rights and well-being, and wishes to see him return to Canada."There appears little consistency in how violations of the law are treated in North Korea. An Australian missionary, simply apologized for his missionary activity last year and was deported. North Korea has very stringent rules about religious activity. Just leaving a Bible in a public place could land a person in jail. Just last year North Korea released Kenneth Bae, an American Korean missionary who also was convicted of crimes against the state and was given 15 years. He had medical problems while in detention. US intelligence official, James Clapper, went to North Korea and arranged his release.