Release Wrongfully Imprisoned Pastor

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Target: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Goal: Secure the release of a Canadian pastor imprisoned for life in North Korea.

North Korea recently sentenced a Canadian pastor to hard labor for life for “crimes against the state.” Hyeon Soo Lim, a Korean-Canadian pastor, was on a humanitarian mission when he was detained last year and has been a prisoner ever since. Lim’s sentence was handed down after a trial lasting only 90 minutes. This imprisonment is a gross violation of international law, and the Canadian government must come to this innocent man’s aid.

Prior to his arrest, Pastor Lim had made over 100 visits to North Korea. Locations visited by the pastor include schools, an orphanage, and a nursing home. During his missions, Lim supplied textbooks, food, and agricultural tools to civilians in desperate need of assistance.

North Korea is run by a dictatorial government and has very strict rules against unauthorized religious activities that may threaten the rule of Kim Jong-un, the nation’s Supreme Leader. An act as innocent as leaving a Bible in a public place can be punishable by hard labor or even death.

North Korea alleges that Lim is guilty of blemishing the Supreme Leader’s dignity, attempting to use religion to sabotage the country, and aiding North Korean refugees in their efforts to escape the country. Lim has confessed to these charges, but his admission means little; North Korea is notorious for coercing innocent individuals into confessing guilt.

For his “crimes,” Lim has been sentenced to hard labor for life. The Canadian government is aware of Lim’s plight. Diana Khaddaj, a spokeswoman for Canada’s Global Affairs Department, said the Prime Minister’s office is “dismayed at the unduly harsh sentence … particularly given his age and fragile health.”

While the government’s awareness is encouraging, it is not enough. Pastor Lim’s life is in danger, and merely expressing concern will not save him. His situation is not beyond salvaging, as North Korea has released international prisoners in the past. Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary, was freed after a visit from James Clapper, a top U.S. intelligence official. Urge the Canadian government to come to the aid of this humanitarian.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

For almost a year, Hyeon Soo Lim has been detained in North Korea. Lim, a Korean-Canadian pastor, was on a humanitarian mission providing relief when he was arrested and charged with a litany of crimes, including blemishing the Supreme Leader’s dignity, attempting to use religion to sabotage the country, and aiding North Korean refugees in their efforts to escape the country. This imprisonment is a gross violation of international law.

Though North Korea is a totalitarian state with a record of human rights violations and international antagonism, the situation is not beyond salvaging. The country has released international prisoners in the past, as Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary, was freed after a visit from a top U.S. intelligence official. Bae’s release is proof that the North Korean government is at least willing to enter negotiations for Lim’s release. I urge you to intervene and rescue this kind and generous man from a life of pain and suffering.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: John Pavelka

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