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North Korea Frees Elderly Christian Missionary

Officials in North Korea have decided to free and deport elderly Australian missionary John Short. The 75-year-old was arrested in mid-February after North Korean authorities found him in possession of evangelistic Christian literature that he was secretly distributing in the city of Pyongyang. According to a statement on the country’s state-run news agency, the move was a sign of the “generosity of the laws of our republic” considering Short’s “advanced age.” Short also reportedly issued a written apology, saying, “I now realize the seriousness of my insult to the Korean people … I am willing to bow down on my knees to request this tolerance of (North Korea) and the Korean people.” As this story notes, many “confessions” written by those imprisoned in the country are frequently made under duress. Though North Korea claims to support a freedom of religion for its people, the regime of Kim Jong un is known to impose harsh penalties (including executions) on people found to own a Bible or that attends underground prayer services. Currently, American missionary Kenneth Bay is being held in the country for unspecified crimes related to his ministry work in the reclusive nation ...

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