North Korean prison for his humanitarian work
Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim has dedicated his life to serving others. In the past twenty years he has made more than 100 humanitarian trips to North Korea, bringing much-needed supplies to orphanages, public schools, and nursing homes. Pastor Lim, a Korean-Canadian, made these trips despite the danger because he wanted to help those who need it the most. But now, Pastor Lim needs our help.
On January 31st, 2015, Pastor Lim entered North Korea on a regular humanitarian mission. In February he was arrested by the North Korean government, and just this past week, Pastor Lim was sentenced to life in a North Korean prison doing hard labor. He “confessed” to and was convicted of “subversive plots” and committing “activities against” North Korea. This is absurd.
His trial was completed in 90 minutes. He had no access to his family or lawyer, outside of the lawyer that the North Korean government provided him. And his so-called confession was likely forced as other foreigners detained in North Korea and then released have said they were coerced into confessing guilt. Without significant pressure from Canada and the United Nations, it is very likely Pastor Lim will spend the rest of his life in prison. But together, we can help him.
Stand with Pastor Lim by signing our petition asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to put international pressure on North Korea to immediately release Pastor Lim.
What we’re asking for is not impossible. Last year, North Korea released Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary who was convicted of anti-state crimes and had been serving a 15-year sentence. He was freed along with another American detainee after a secret mission to the reclusive communist country by James Clapper, the top U.S. intelligence official. So with enough international pressure, we know it is possible to get Pastor Lim released.
Pastor Lim is the head pastor at Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, which is one of the largest churches in Canada. With Christmas this week, his family and congregation are missing him more than ever. And we cannot imagine what it’s like for this kind and caring man, who has spent countless Christmases giving sermons, to now be alone in a cell on Christmas.
Join us in solidarity with Pastor Lim in asking Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to increase their pressure on North Korea to immediately release Pastor Lim.
Ji-Soo An (University of Alberta Law School)
Hyun-Soo Emma Lim (Yale Law School)