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Parents Of Slain College Student Otto Warmbier Are Suing North Korea

REUTERS/Kyodo

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died in June 2017 after spending over a year in prison in North Korea, are suing the regime for “brutally” torturing and murdering their son.

The lawsuit holds North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un legally accountable for the death of their son. Warmbier was arrested in 2016 for allegedly attempting to pilfer a propaganda poster while on a tour of North Korea. For his crimes against the state, the young student was convicted at a tearful show trial and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. He returned home last summer in a coma, and he died one week later.

His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, are taking action against North Korea for taking their son hostage, illegally detaining him, and ultimately torturing and killing him, The Washington Post reported Thursday. North Korea has repeatedly denied any responsibility for Warmbier’s death.

Warmbier was “taken hostage, kept as a prisoner for political purposes, used as a pawn and singled out for exceptionally harsh and brutal treatment by Kim Jong Un,” his father said in a statement. “Kim and his regime have portrayed themselves as innocent, while they intentionally destroyed our son’s life. This lawsuit is another step in holding North Korea accountable for its barbaric treatment of Otto and our family.”

Warmbier returned to the U.S. blind, deaf, and with clear signs of physical abuse, the lawsuit claims.

The Warmbiers are reportedly represented by McGuireWoods.

The Trump administration has condemned North Korea for its treatment of Warmbier on numerous occasions, with the president specifically mentioning the family in his State of the Union address to highlight the regime’s brutality.

The lawsuit comes on the eve of a major inter-Korean summit, which is expected to set the stage for an eventual meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim. There are still three Americans being held in captivity in North Korea, but the Trump administration is reportedly in talks with Pyongyang to secure their release.

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