The U.S. has condemned North Korea for its hand in the death of an American college student in a series of strong denunciations by U.S. officials.
North Korea released Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student detained for alleged crimes against the state, on June 12. The young man returned home in a coma having sustained “severe injuries to all regions of the brain,” according to the medical professionals tasked with his care. The North Koreans kept his condition a secret for over a year, depriving him of the quality medical treatment he desperately needed. Warmbier passed away Monday afternoon at the young age of 22.
U.S. officials have strongly criticized the reclusive regime for its brutal acts, which took the life of a U.S. citizen and tore apart a family that fought tirelessly to get him back.
“The United States condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump said in a statement, adding that their thoughts and prayers are with the Warmbiers.
“Today we received with deep sadness the news that Otto Warmbier passed away,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a separate statement. “We hold North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier’s unjust imprisonment, and demand the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained.”
The three Americans currently in captivity in North Korea are Kim Dong Chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak Song.
“The inhumanity of the North Korean regime has been known to the world for decades. Countless innocent men and women have died at the hands of the North Korean criminals, but the singular case of Otto Warmbier touches the American heart like no other,” Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said in a statement.
“While Otto Warmbier’s memory will always be a blessing to his loved ones, it will also serve as an incredible reminder to us of the barbaric nature of the North Korean dictatorship,” she added.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Otto Warmbier, a remarkable young Ohioan,” Ohio Senator Rob Portman said on Twitter in response.
“This horrendous situation further underscores the evil, oppressive nature of the North Korean regime that has such disregard for human life,” Ohio Governor John Kasich said.
“Otto Warmbier should never have been in jail for tearing down a stupid banner. And he most certainly should not have been murdered for it,” Florida Senator Marco Rubio said in a very accurate statement.
Many other U.S. officials have also expressed strong criticisms towards the hermit kingdom for its mistreatment of Warmbier. They have also offered their thoughts, prayers, and support as the Warmbiers go through a very trying time.
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