More than 15 years after Reverend Kim Dong Shik's abduction by the North Korean government, the D.C. District Court has decided to award Kim Dong Shik's family with $330 million. On Monday, the Israel Law Center announced that it was awarded the amount on behalf of the pastor's family.
Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center, released a statement on Monday explaining that Rev. Kim's son and brother will receive $15 million each and $300 million in punitive damage. Rev. Kim's family brought the lawsuit to court six years ago in order to find justice for the pastor against the North Korean government.
Back in January of 2000, Reverend Kim was abducted by North Korean agents in front of a restaurant in Yanji, China. According a court in South Korea, a Korean man living in China helped the North Korean agents plan the abduction. The agents took 10 months planning the kidnapping.
"This is an important human rights decision that will be utilized in all political abduction cases going forward," said Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Israel Law Center.
"We are grateful that the court has found that once we proved the kidnapping of Rev. Kim by North Korean intelligence and brought human rights experts to testify about the horrific conditions in the political detention camps, the burden must be on Pyongyang to show was still alive after so many years," said Darshan-Leitner.
Reverend Kim, a missionary from South Korea, was a permanent U.S. resident. His wife and two children, U.S. citizens, lived in Illinois. The missionary angered the North Korean government when he helped North Koreans defectors escape into China. He also spent time sharing his faith with North Korean athletes who were in the 1996 Olympics.
Kim is believed to have been heavily tortured while in captivity in North Korea. Some reports state that he lost more than a hundred pounds after he was starved by North Korean agents. The U.S. as well as other countries have been scrutinizing North Korea and its violation of human rights. The recent decision by the U.S. court gives more reason to impose sanctions on the nation for its violations.