US judge orders North Korea to pay $500 million over student's death
US judge orders North Korea to pay $500 million over student's death
TORTURE US court rules that Otto Warmbier was tortured and killed by North Korean state
25 December, 2018, 22:17
Warmbier was flown to OH on June 13, 2017, after North Korea announced that it was releasing him for "humanitarian" reasons.
Warmbier, 22, was a U.S. college student who died in 2017 shortly after being released from a North Korea prison.
This story is still developing. "Indeed, North Korea is the world's "leading" and 'best qualified candidate for indictment" at the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity".
He had been sentenced to 15 years hard labour in March 2016 after reportedly stealing a poster while on a trip in the country.
He was freed in June 2017, still in a comatose state after 17 months in captivity.
Cindy and Fred Warmbier, parents of the late Otto Warmbier, and their son Austin Warmbier meet with Japanese families of abductees at the Kitano Hotel in New York City, on May 3.
A neurologist later concluded that the college student suffered brain damage, probably from a loss of blood flow to the brain for five to 20 minutes.
'We put ourselves and our family through the ordeal of a lawsuit and public trial because we promised Otto that we will never rest until we have justice for him, ' they said. Otto's father, Fred Warmbier, claimed during his first interview after his son's death that "it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth".
Otto's "strange phrases", such as the references to the "U.S. administration", "DPR Korea instead of DPRK", and his "quietest boots for sneaking" were "clumsy" North Korean "stock phrase [s]" that provide "no doubt. that this was a coerced confession under great duress".
The Warmbiers were seeking more than $1.45 billion from the North Korean government, and the decision that was issued Monday lays out how both parents are entitled to $150,000 in punitive damages and $150,000 in compensatory damages each, as well as an additional $150,000 in punitive damages to Otto Warmbier's estate and more than $21 million in compensatory damages to his estate.
Fred Warmbier, right, listens as his wife Cindy Warmbier speaks of their son Otto Warmbier, an American who died previous year, days after his release from captivity in North Korea during a meeting, May 3, 2018, at the United Nations headquarters.
The lawsuit was brought on the Warmbiers' behalf by Richard Cullen, a prominent Virginia lawyer and former United States attorney.
"Otto excelled at all that he set out to do in his young life", she wrote, and his nature "makes highly plausible that this success would have continued".
"It's important to send a signal", said Jim Feinerman, associate dean for graduate and worldwide law and a professor of Asian legal studies at Georgetown's law school, especially in such a horrific case.
Lee said it was a misconception that such rulings are just symbolic, a moral victory.
"He was blind, deaf, and brain dead when North Korea turned him over to US government officials for his final trip home", the court's opinion states.
But North Korea is seeking to end economic sanctions imposed over its nuclear program.
Feinerman said there's a delicate diplomatic balance in such cases.
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