Otto Warmbier, 22, who is an economics student from the University of Virginia returned to the US last Tuesday after he travelled to North Korea as a tourist and was arrested there on 2 January 2016.


During Warmbier’s painful stay in North Korea, he was reportedly in a coma. However, North Korean authorities said botulism caused the coma, but a team of US doctors who examined him dismissed the North Korean authorities’ claim.

Mr Warmbier was purportedly sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for trying to steal a hotel propaganda sign.

He had severe brain damage and was sent from North Korea on 13 June to a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati where he died.

The Warmbier family believed that the reason behind their 22-year-old son is the torture to which he was subjected in North Korea.

“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20 pm.” a statement from the family said.

It said the student had been “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands”.

“The awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”

Trump Statement

President Donald Trump said Mr Warmbier’s death promoted his administration “to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency”.

“The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” the presidential statement added.

Mr Warmbier was on holiday with a tour group from China, which has announced it will not accompany American tourist to North Korea.

“The way his detention was handled was appalling and a tragedy like this must never be repeated,” Young Pioneer Tours said in a statement.

“Despite constant requests, we were denied any opportunity to meet him or anyone in contact with him in Pyongyang, only receiving assurances that he was fine.”