UPDATE: VOM confirmed via Twitter that John Short has been deported from North Korea and is now in Beijing. Please continue praying for his safety as he journeys home.
North Korea (MNN) — According to early reports from Fox News, the Korean Central News Agency says that Australian Missionary, John Short, is to be deported from the country.
We are still awaiting confirmation from Voice of the Martyrs USA that these reports are valid.
Earlier, they brought us the news of Short’s arrest. He was detained by North Korean authorities last month. His crime? VOM tells us his arrest was due to his possession of Christian literature. Short was caught passing out Bible tracts near a Buddhist temple on Kim Jong II’s birthday.
Allegedly, Short, age 75, apologized for committing a crime that undermined the Korean’s trust in their leaders. Fox News says he was quoted saying, “I now realize the seriousness of my insult to the Korean people on February 16th because I made the Korean people angry, and for this I truly apologize.” You can view the Fox New’s report here.
North Korea has decided to deport him because of his apology and age. The alternative to deportation, according to Fox News, is labor camp or execution.
Many foreign detainees that have been freed in North Korea report that their confessions are forced or given under pressure. This could be the case with Short as well.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is looking to confirm the reports of deportation. VOM says that since they have no diplomatic relationship with North Korea, Australia has to work through the Swedish embassy located in Pyongyang.
This was Short’s second visit to North Korea. He and his wife have lived in Hong Kong for the past 50 years. It is clear that his heart is in being a voice for persecuted Christians. This is not his first time to be arrested for sharing the Gospel.
North Korea is #1 in the world for extreme persecution on the Open Doors World Watch List.
Please pray for the safety of Short. Pray for authorities’ hearts to be softened and even transformed by this man’s faith. Pray that he will have a safe return home and that his impact will be long-lasting in North Korea.