This past week, North Korea unexpectedly released American college student Otto Warmbier from prison. In March 2016, Warmbier was convicted of stealing a propaganda banner from a restricted area of his Pyongyang hotel after an associate of his asked him to. As punishment, North Korean officials sentenced him to 15 years in prison with hard labor.
But after only serving 15 months, Warmbier is back on American soil. However, he isn’t in good medical condition. According to The New York Times, Warmbier was “gravely ill and in a coma” upon his return. He is currently being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
A spokeswoman from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said that Warmbier is suffering from a ”severe neurological injury.” Fred Warmbier, Otto Warmbier’s father, said that the North Korea regime “brutalized and terrorized” his son.
This is the first time that Fred Warmbier has publicly expressed his disgust with the North Korean regime. He and the rest of the family have tried to remain as friendly and polite as possible in the hopes of getting their loved one back.
“We are not burdened by what North Korea says or does any longer,” Fred Warmbier said. “We’ve been forced to act quiet and act different because we didn’t want to offend them.”
Fred Warmbier also said that President Trump called him Wednesday night to inquire about his son’s condition. Fred Warmbier remarked that it was a “really nice conversation.”
It’s still unclear as to what (if any) negotiations were made in order to secure Otto Warmbier’s release. However, Fred Warmbier has no doubt that the U.S. put significant pressure on North Korea.
“I think the State Department was negotiating pretty tough. I don’t know we will ever know, but (North Korea) didn’t do it from the kindness of their hearts—North Koreans don’t do that,” Fred Warmbier stated.