Ministry sheds light on fate awaiting North Korean believer

By July 13, 2007

North Korea
(MNN) — Voice of the Martyrs has launched a worldwide campaign to free Son
Jong Nam,
a former North Korean army officer awaiting public execution for being a

VOM's Todd Nettleton says this is an unusual situation. "It's actually fairly rare to have a
name and a face about a North Korean prisoner because the country is so
closed. Since we did have that specific
information, in this case, we want to use this to draw attention not only to
this case, but to the overall situation for Christians in North Korea." 

has been behind bars for a year and has been sentenced to public execution as
an example to the North Korean people.
His brother, Son Jong Hoon, made a public plea Thursday before the
National Press Club in Washington D. C.

Their voices are joined by U.S. Senator and Republican
presidential candidate Sam Brownback, a noted supporter of human rights for
North Korean refugees. Brownback sent
letters [also signed by Senators Max Baucus (D) and Richard Durbin (D) and
Senators Jim Inhofe (R) and David Vitter (R)] last week to US Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking them to
secure Nam's release.

Nettleton says they're asking people to write letters and
send emails on Son Jong Nam's
behalf which will then be mailed to the North Korean delegation to the UN. Along with those letters, the group is asking
the North Korean government to spare Son's life, release him from prison
immediately, report on his current statu,s and deliver the personal letters to

According to VOM, Son defected to China in 1998 with his wife, son,
and brother. His wife died after arriving there. It was in China that he
met a South Korean missionary and became a Christian. Mr. Son continued
his religious studies and felt called to be an evangelist in North Korea.

However, Son was arrested by Chinese police in 2001, sent
back to North Korea,
charged and imprisoned with sending missionaries into his native country.
He was paroled briefly in 2004 and went to China. When he returned to North Korea in
January 2006, he was arrested again and has remained in prison since.

While it's an uncomfortable story, it's also a message of
hope for the embattled church. Nettleton
says the response can let other believers know they haven't been
forgotten. He urges people to take Nam and others
like him before the Lord. "Pray for
this prisoner, for Son Jong Nam.
Pray for his encouragement. Pray for his health. We know that North Korean
jails are not safe places. I think we can also pray that he would have
opportunities to share his faith even while he is in prison."

Go to
to compose a letter of support and encouragement to Son. 


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