North Korea said Wednesday that it has
released a Korean Canadian pastor who had been detained for two years and seven
months over health reasons.
“Rim Hyon Su [Lim Hyeon Soo], a Canadian
civilian, was released on sick bail accordint to the decision of the Central
Court of the DPRK on August 9, 2017, from the humanitarian viewpoint,” North
Korea’s official news agency KCNA said.
Lim had been detained in December of 2015
when he was in North Korea for a humanitarian visit. He was sentenced to hard
labor for life for committing “crimes against the state.”
According to his family, Lim had been to
North Korea more than 100 times for humanitarian activities since 1997.
His release came one day after a special envoy
of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in the North. Daniel Jean,
national security advisor to the prime minister of Canada, and his party also
The visit drew speculation that the envoy
was to persuade the North to release the detained pastor.
Meanwhile, Lim’s health condition is
currently unclear. Lim also has had high blood pressure, and his family was
able to send him medication while he was detained in North Korea. However,
Canadian Senator Yonah Martin expressed concern that Lim was not receiving the
medicine “in the way he should, “ according to Reuters.