Judge Orders North Korea to Pay $500 Million to Family of Otto Warmbier in Wrongful Death Suit

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Saturday, January 5, 2019
Zarine Kharazian

When Otto Warmbier left with a tour group on his five-day trip to North Korea, he was a healthy college junior at the University of Virginia. 17 months later, he returned to his parents Frederick and Cynthia Warmbier blind, deaf, and brain dead. In the intervening months, Warmbier had spent over a year in detention at a North Korean prison for allegedly stealing a sign supporting North Korean leader Kim Jung Il. At a televised press conference in North Korea on February 29, 2016, Warmbier, under visible distress, confessed to “severe crimes against” the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and claimed that he had been acting under the direction of the CIA. While imprisoned, he had no direct contact with his parents. A week after Warmbier returned home, he died from complications from severe brain damage.