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North Korea Accuses US of Exploiting Death of Otto Warmbier

  • VOA News

The casket of Otto Warmbier is carried from Wyoming High School after his funeral, June 22, 2017.

North Korea is accusing U.S. President Donald Trump of “exploiting” the death of college student Otto Warmbier, who died after being imprisoned and tortured by the Kim Jong-Un regime.

North Korea's foreign ministry called Trump an “old lunatic” on Thursday and accused the United States of sending Warmbier to the country on a criminal “mission.”

"Trump and his clique, for their anti-DPRK propaganda, are again exploiting the death of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who had been under reform through labor for the criminal act he committed against the DPRK and died after returning to the U.S." the statement said.

FILE - In this Feb. 29, 2016, Otto Warmbier speaks as he is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea.
FILE - In this Feb. 29, 2016, Otto Warmbier speaks as he is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Warmbier was imprisoned in North Korea for 18 months for attempting to steal a propaganda poster. He was returned to the United States in a coma and died in June.

On Tuesday, in a series of television interviews, Warmbier’s parents detailed their son's condition after his release from North Korean custody.

A person believed to be Otto Warmbier is transferred from a medical transport airplane to an awaiting ambulance at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 13, 2017.
A person believed to be Otto Warmbier is transferred from a medical transport airplane to an awaiting ambulance at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 13, 2017.

"Otto had a shaved head. He had a feeding tube coming out of his nose,” Otto’s father, Fred Warmbier said on Fox News. “He was staring blankly into space, jerking violently. He was blind. He was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him, it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth. Within two days of Otto being home, his fever spiked to 104 degrees. He had a large scar on his right foot."

Following the airing of the interview, Trump, for the first time, accused North Korea of torturing Warmbier, saying he was “tortured beyond belief” by the regime.

North Korea dismissed the torture concerns and accused Trump of “using bogus data full of falsehood and fabrications” to slander the country’s “supreme leadership.”

Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco speaks during a news conference regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student Otto Warmbier who was serving a 15-year prison term in North Korea, Sept. 27, 2017, at the Hamilton County Coroner's office in Cincinnati.
Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco speaks during a news conference regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student Otto Warmbier who was serving a 15-year prison term in North Korea, Sept. 27, 2017, at the Hamilton County Coroner's office in Cincinnati.

A coroner who examined Warmbier's body says her office lacks evidence to make any conclusions on what led to his fatal brain damage.

Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco said Wednesday, "the bottom line" is her examination could not determine what happened to Warmbier. Sammarco said, "We're never going to know unless the people that were there at the time it happened come forward and say this is what happened to Otto."

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