by Emmitt Barry, Worthy News Correspondent
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Worthy News)-- John Short, an 75-year-old Australian Christian, was released from detention in Pyongyang, North Korea yesterday. The missionary, based in Hong Kong, had been arrested and charged with attempting to overthrow the government on February 16th by authorities in North Korea.
John Short was distributing tracts from the Bible at a Buddist Temple in Pyongyang on the country's late leader Kim Jong iI's birthday, which led to his arrest.
“I deeply apologize for what I have done by spreading my Bible tracts on February 16th the birthday of his Excellency Kim Jong II,” Short said in a confession released by the government-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Missionary work is illegal in North Korea and Short had been facing the possibly of years in jail. People who have fled the country have reported the distribution of Bibles and underground church involvement can mean exile to labor camps, and in some cases execution.
On February 17, the United Nations published a report which condemned North Korea for “crimes against humanity”, and called for the nation to be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The U.N.'s 372-page-report was based on satellite imagery and harrowing testimony gathered from more than 80 victims and witnesses over the past 11 months, which included many who survived after being sent to one of the North Korean prison camps. The report covered a broad range of crimes, which included charges of “extermination,” forced abortions, rape, and widespread abductions.
North Korea is widely regarded as one of the world's worst persecutor of Christians, with as many as 50,000 North Korean Christians believed to be imprisoned in concentration type camps around the country.