Otto Warmbier was a college student arrested and charged by the North Korea regime to 15 years hard labor for the alleged theft of North Korean property. Otto was held in a North Korean prison and tragically did not leave North Korea in the same young and lively manner that he entered it.
Warmbier was suspected of being the victim of torture tactics and died shortly after coming back into the United States due to health failure. The sad story took place nearly a year ago in June 2017. The story resurfaced after North Korea recently freed three American hostages ahead of a peace summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
The Warmbier family are aware of the North Korean hostage release and shared their empathy, saying they were glad for the three men. Fox News has more on the unimaginable horror story the Warmbier family experienced last year and how the parents of Otto Warmbier responded to the hostage release:
Warmbier was an American college student captured in 2016 by North Korean authorities after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. He was the last American to be freed from the communist country.
He died days after he was repatriated back to the U.S. in June 2017 after suffering from brain damage induced by torture.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends” last year, his parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, opened up about their son’s condition when released. They said Otto was blind and deaf, with mangled teeth. He jerked violently on a stretcher and moaned.
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the North Korean government last month accusing it of forcing “him to falsely ‘confess’ to an act of subversion on behalf of the United States government.”
The suit states the regime “tortured him, kept him in detention for a year and a half without allowing him to communicate with his family, and returned him to them in a non-responsive state and brain dead.”
The Warmbiers released a statement on Wednesday in the wake of the arrival of the three newly freed Americans, saying “We are happy for the hostages and their families.”
“We miss Otto,” the family added.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 10, 2018
President Trump acknowledged the Warmbier family in a statement, “It’s a very important thing to all of us to be able to get these three great people out. I must tell you, I want to pay my warmest respects to the parents of Otto Warmbier, who is a great young man who really suffered.”
Spoke with Otto Warmbier’s parents today while 3 Americans are on their way home from North Korea. Otto is heavy on the hearts of everyone here. Thank you @SecretarySonny for leading the entire @Cabinet in prayer for Otto and his family.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) May 9, 2018
The hostages reported took their first couple of steps back on U.S. soil after a year or longer imprisoned in North Korea around 2:00am on Thursday.
This is incredible news. Welcome home Tony Kim, Kim Hak-song, and Kim Dong-chul! https://t.co/kAZksRB1tI
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) May 9, 2018
Please remember to pray for Otto Warmbier’s family today, as well https://t.co/dq36LTFzto
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) May 9, 2018
Here’s more on the released hostages, per USA Today:
The three men — Kim Hak-Song, also known as Jin Xue Song; Tony Kim, also known as Kim Sang-Duk; and Kim Dong-Chul — were arrested on a variety of supposed anti-state crimes, despite the fact that they appear to have journeyed to the diplomatically isolated nation to improve conditions for its 25 million citizens:
They all faced the same fate: years behind bars.
• Kim Dong-Chul of Fairfax, Va., was arrested in October 2015 and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor in April 2016 on charges of spying and other offenses.
A month before his trial, he supposedly apologized for trying to steal military secrets for South Koreans. He had been living in Rason, North Korea, in a special economic zone where he ran a trading and hotel services company.
• Tony Kim was detained at the Pyongyang airport in April 2017 as he was set to depart the country. He subsequently was accused of “hostile acts.”
Kim had spent a month teaching accounting at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and most recently had been living in North Korea with his wife, still believed to be there. He supposedly had been volunteering at an orphanage. The university is funded largely by evangelical Christians from the United States and China.
• Kim Hak-Song was accused of “hostile acts” in May 2017. He had been doing agricultural development work at the research farm of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology and was living in Pyongyang.
A night we will all remember. Thankful to live in America. pic.twitter.com/VbDrpUG5Yg
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) May 10, 2018