Following a claim by North Korean authorities that a detained Canadian pastor confessed to committing crimes against the state, a video footage has been released as proof.
Authorities release footage of Canadian pastor confessing to crimes against the state
The pastor dressed in a dark blue suit and tie appeared to be reading from a script to a sparse congregation which included some foreign residents of Pyongyang
South Korean-born Canadian pastor, Hyeon Soo Lim, of the 3,000-member Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto had traveled to North Korea in January 2015 on a routine humanitarian visit.
Pastor Lim has been in detention since February 2015.
Reuters reports that the pastor dressed in a dark blue suit and tie appeared to be reading from a script to a sparse congregation which included some foreign residents of Pyongyang.
"The worst crime I committed was to rashly defame and insult the highest dignity and the system of the republic," Hyeon told a congregation at Pyongyang's Pongsu Church, according to video released by the semi-official Uriminzokkiri propaganda website.
Pongsu Church is one of four state-operated churches in the capital of a country that espouses freedom of religion but effectively bans it.
The service took place on Aug. 2, Uriminzokkiri said.
Last week, the 60-year-old pastor appeared before media in Pyongyang where he also confessed to crimes aimed at overthrowing the state, the North's official news agency said.
KCNA quoted Lim as telling a news conference he had traveled to North Korea in the guise of humanitarian work and gathered information that he used in sermons outside the country in a bid to drive the regime to a collapse "with the love of God."
His purpose was to "overturn its social system by taking advantage of the hostile policy against it sought by the South Korean authorities and set up a base for building a religious state," KCNA quoted him as saying.
Lim has visited North Korea more than 100 times since 1997 and has helped establish an orphanage and a nursing home there, according to the church. He has lived in Canada since 1986 and is a Canadian citizen.
Canada suspended diplomatic relations with Pyongyang in 2010. Both North Korea and neighboring China have clamped down on Christian groups over the past year, and several American Christians have been detained by North Korea.
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