By Carol Morello December 23, 2014

Originally appeared here in Times of Israel

North Korea can be ordered to pay damages to the family of a Christian missionary who was abducted almost 15 years ago, then presumably tortured and killed, a federal appeals court has determined.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia this week ordered the case of the Rev. Kim Dong-shik back to a trial court so his family can seek damages in the suspected death of the missionary, who was kidnapped in China in 2000. He was never seen again after being taken to North Korea. The trial court ruled against the family because they had no proof of his fate, though experts testified that he almost certainly was tortured to death.

“The Kims’ evidence that the regime abducted the Reverend, that it invariably tortures and kills prisoners like him, and that it uses terror and intimidation to prevent witnesses from testifying allows us to reach the logical conclusion that the regime tortured and killed the Reverend,” the three-judge panel said in a decision written by Appeals Court Judge David S. Tatel.

The Kim case revolves around a section of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that usually protects foreign governments from being sued in U.S. courts. One exception is for countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism. Read More