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Otto Warmbier

Otto Frederick Warmbier (December 12, 1994 – June 19, 2017) was an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016. In June 2017, he was released by North Korea in a vegetative state and died soon afterward.

Warmbier entered North Korea as part of a guided tour group on December 29, 2015. On January 2, 2016, he was arrested at Pyongyang International Airport while awaiting departure from the country. He was accused of attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel, for which he was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment with hard labor.

Shortly after his sentencing in March 2016, Warmbier suffered a severe neurological injury from an unconfirmed cause and fell into a coma, which lasted over a year. North Korean authorities did not disclose his medical condition until June 2017, when they announced he had fallen into a coma as a result of botulism and a sleeping pill. He was freed later that month, still in a comatose state after 17 months in captivity. He was repatriated to the United States and arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 13, 2017. He was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for immediate evaluation and treatment.

Warmbier never regained consciousness and died on June 19, 2017, six days after his return to the United States when his parents had requested his feeding tube to be removed. A coroner's report stated that he died from an unknown injury causing lack of oxygen to the brain. Non-invasive internal scans did not find any signs of fractures to his skull.

In 2018, a U.S. federal court found the North Korean government liable for Warmbier's torture and death, in a default judgment in favor of Warmbier's parents after North Korea did not contest the case. In 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump caused controversy after saying that he believed the word of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un that Kim was not responsible for Warmbier's death. In response, Warmbier's parents criticized Trump for making excuses for Kim and "his evil regime".

Source: Otto Warmbier
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