August 17th, 2017

Canadian pastor freed from North Korean prison speaks to congregation

By The Canadian Press on August 13, 2017.

Pastor Hyeon Soo Lim waves to the congregation as he arrives at the Light Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, Ont., Sunday, August 13, 2017. Lim was released last week from prison in North Korea, where he had been serving a life sentence with hard labour for anti-state activities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – A Canadian pastor freed from a North Korean prison says he spent two years in isolation, doing gruelling physical labour that landed him in hospital on several occasions.

Hyeon Soo Lim spoke in Korean to the congregation at a Toronto-area church Sunday during his first public appearance since arriving home.

An English translation of his address was provided to the media.

In it, Lim describes eating nearly 3,000 meals in isolation, and says he was forced to break apart frozen coal in the winter, and dug holes a metre wide and a metre deep in the frozen ground.

He says the labour “took a toll” on his body, sending him to hospital for two months at one point.

He says he was sent to hospital in serious condition three other times.

Lim had been sentenced to life in prison with hard labour for alleged anti-state activities, but was released on what the North Korean government described as “sick bail” last week.

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