Being at the mercy of a despotic regime is the nightmare of many. North Korea has made that an unfortunate reality for its people.
But now, an American student, Otto Warmbier, has been horribly abused by the regime as well. The student’s father, Fred, said his son was “brutalized and terrorized” (via Reuters).
The young man, a student of the University of Virginia, was sent from North Korea to an Ohio hospital via medical evacuation.
The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) only said they sent the student back “on humanitarian grounds.” Their story is that the boy contracted botulism, was given a sleeping pill, and then fell into a coma.
Fred Warmbier, the distraught father, said: “We don’t believe anything they (North Korea) say.” And who would? Previously, North Korea had sentenced the young man to fifteen years of hard labor.
Just why was this barbaric sentence handed down? According to the regime, the young man tried to steal an item, which had a propaganda message on it. But, we have no way of really knowing the truth of the matter. Regardless, it was an unjust sentence.
The Washington Post reported that they had spoken to a U.S. official who knew of reports that Otto had been regularly beaten in North Korea. Clearly, he was not kept in humane conditions either. The idea that the North Korean regime thinks botulism, a deadly and preventable infection, is somehow a good excuse for the young man’s condition, proves this point.
President Donald Trump has already been in contact with Otto’s father. Reportedly, he explained how the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, and the Special Envoy to North Korea, Joseph Yun, convinced the regime to release the young man.
All of our thoughts and prayers go out to Otto and the Warmbier family. Our hope is that he may yet make a recovery from this inhumane and evil treatment at the hands of the North Korean regime.
In the meantime, we have to teach North Korea exactly how they should be treating our citizens — and what will happen if they don’t smarten up.
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