Canadian pastor Hyeon Soo Lim gets a life sentence in North Korean prison
A North Korean court has sentences a Canadian mega-church pastor, detained in North Korea for 10 months, to life in prison there "for subversion."
The Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim was found guilty of anti-government activities and of spreading false propaganda, CNN quoted China's State news agency Xinhua as reporting.
"The Supreme Court announced that Lim was guilty of joining the United States and South Korea in anti-DPRK [North Korea] human rights 'racket' and fabricating and circulating false propaganda materials tarnishing the country's image," said the report.
His punishment is a lifetime of labor, the agency said.
The 60-year-old Lim ministers the 3,000-member Light Korean Presbyterian Church Mississauga-based congregation in Toronto.
He is a Canadian citizen who emigrated from South Korea in 1986.
In August, those close to the Toronto pastor who had confessed to treason in North Korea seem puzzled at what led to the detention.
As a preacher he had made more than 100 trip to the isolated communist country.
Lim made his first public appearance since he was detained by North Korean authorities earlier this year and confessed in Pyongyang to "indescribable treason" in a televised apology July 30.
Reading from a statement, Lim confessed to activities aimed at toppling North Korea's government and to violating the country's Ebola quarantine policy in February by "illegally" entering the capital, the official KCNA news agency reported.
In July, Lim was brought out a news conference where he read from a statement, confessing to activities aimed at toppling the North Korean government, KCNA reported.
"The purpose that I traveled about several parts of the country on the pretext of 'aid' was to build a base to overthrow the system of the country and create a religious state, taking advantage of the policies of the U.S. and South Korean authorities," Lim said, according to the The Associated Press.
AP was present for the news conference and reported the statement was delivered in front of a packed room of Pyongyang-based journalists.
Lim had traveled into North Korea from China on Jan. 30 with plans to tend to aid projects established by his church in the northeastern city of Rajin, including an orphanage, a nursery and a nursing home, CNN had reported.