Otto Warmbier Bio

Otto Frederick Warmbier was an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016 after being convicted of theft of a propaganda poster. In June 2017, the U.S government secured his release.

Otto Warmbier Biography

Otto Warmbier was born on 12 December 1994 and died on June 19, 2017. He had been traveling to Hong Kong for a study abroad program when he decided to visit North Korea on a guided tour at the end of December 2015.

Otto Frederick Warmbier

December 12, 1994

Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Died June 19, 2017 (aged 22)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Education Wyoming High School
Alma mater University of Virginia
Parent(s) Fred and Cindy Warmbier
Country  North Korea
Detained January 2, 2016
Charge Attempted theft
Sentence 15 years’ imprisonment
Released June 12, 2017
Time held 1 year, 5 months and 10 days

While there, he allegedly attempted to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel, for which he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labor.

Shortly after his sentencing in March 2016, Warmbier suffered severe neurological injury from an unknown cause. 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, arriving in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 13. He was taken to University of Cincinnati Medical Center for immediate evaluation and treatment, where physicians found no evidence of botulism.

Warmbier never regained consciousness and died on June 19, 2017, six days after his return to the United States after his parents requested his feeding tube be removed. A coroner’s report was unable to identify the cause of the injury, finding no physical evidence of torture.

Non-invasive internal scans did not find any signs of fractures to his skull. In 2018, the North Korean government was held liable in a U.S. federal court for his torture and death after a default judgment was made due to North Korea not contesting the case. In 2019, President Trump said he accepted Kim Jong Un’s explanation that the North Korea leader was not responsible for causing Warmbier’s death.

Otto Frederick Warmbier – Trump defends Kim over US student’s death

US President Donald Trump has defended North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the case of an American college student who died after being jailed by North Korea.

Speaking in Hanoi after his summit with Mr Kim broke down, Mr Trump said he did not believe the North Korean leader was aware of Otto Warmbier’s ordeal.

Mr Trump said: “He tells me he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.”

Warmbier was jailed in North Korea in December 2015 during an organised tour.

Pyongyang authorities returned the 22-year-old to the US in a coma in July 2017, and he died days later in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

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