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N. Korea sentences Canadian pastor to life in prison

His church has said Lim, who is a Canadian citizen, visited the North more than 100 times since 1997 and has helped establish an orphanage and a nursing home there.

The North’s official news agency KCNA said during his trial Mr Lim admitted to “not only viciously defaming the highest dignity of Korea and its system but also possessing the wicked intention of trying to topple the Republic by staging an anti-state conspiracy”.

“The objective 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 USA and South Korean authorities”, Lim said, according to the The Associated Press, which was present for the news conference.

Pastor Eric Foley from Voice of Martyrs, a¬†global missionary group told NK News that “Lim’s imprisonment shows that North Korea is against any kind of Christian activities in North Korea”.

KCNA did not mention what specific activities Lim engaged in, but Xinhua reported that Lim confessed to helping people defect from North Korea, and had met the U.S. ambassador to Mongolia regarding the plans.

Lim’s family sent a public statement to North Korea in November urging Lim’s speedy return.

In August, the North released a video showing Lim attending a Sunday service at Pyongyang’s Pongsu Church and confessing to various charges in an address to a small congregation that included a number of foreigners. Lim pleaded to be given a chance and said if the court gave him a chance he would not do anything bad again.

Lim has lived in Canada since 1986 and is a Canadian citizen.

Although religious freedom is enshrined in the North’s constitution, it does not exist in practice and foreign missionaries arrested in North Korea can be given long sentences or used by Pyongyang as a way of securing concessions from their governments.

Bae, whose detention received worldwide attention, suffered medical issues in detention.

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