World War 3: Did North Korea Kill US Student?
Otto Warmbier, an American student held in North Korea for 17 months and recently released with severe neurological trauma following months spent in a coma, has passed away.
Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor after attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his Pyongyang hotel last year. The college student’s arrest was announced by North Korea in late January 2016, after he reportedly tried to steal a propaganda banner as a souvenir for a friend who wanted to hang it in her church.
Speaking before his one-hour trial, a tearful Warmbier told reporters he was offered a used car worth $10,000 if he could successfully steal the propaganda banner. He was also told that if he was detained and didn’t return, $200,000 would be paid to his mother in the form of a charitable donation.
The college student said he accepted the offer because his family was “suffering from very severe financial difficulties.”
Pyongyang accused him of committing an anti-state crime with “the tacit connivance of the US government and under its manipulation.” The American student was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.
“Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today,” his family said in a statement on Monday afternoon.
Warmbier passed away at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Ohio at 2:20 pm local time, the family said.
When he returned to the US on June 13, he was “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands,” the family said at the time, but his expression soon changed. “He was home and we believe he could sense that.”
President Donald Trump shared the breaking news during a press conference, saying, “[Warmbier] spent a year-and-a-half in North Korea. A lot of bad things happened, but at least we got him home to be with his parents, where they were so happy to see him, even though he was in very tough condition, but he just passed away a little while ago.”
Trump called North Korea “a brutal regime,” adding, “we’ll be able to handle it.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2017
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