Warmbier family contradict Trump, accuse Kim for the death of their son Otto
The parents of young American Otto Warmbier , who died in 2017 after spending 17 months in North Korea, on Friday contradicted US President Donald Trump and directly accused North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his “evil regime” for killing their son.
“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for this unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuse or lavish praise can change that.” Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement.
Their statement comes after Trump himself said on Thursday that, after discussing the matter with Kim during the summit they held this week in Hanoi, he believed that the North Korean leader had not been personally involved in the events.
“I have spoken to him (about it) and I really think it was not in his best interest that it should happen (...).He tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word,” Trump said at a press conference after the abrupt conclusion of his summit with Kim in Hanoi.
The parents of the deceased student said in their statement that they had chosen to be “respectful” during the meeting between the two leaders, but that the time had come to “speak out.”
Shortly afterwards, Trump himself said on Twitter Friday that “I never like being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family.”
Remember, I got Otto out along with three others. The previous Administration did nothing, and he was taken on their watch. Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto’s mistreatment and death.” Trump tweeted.
“Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!” he concluded.
The deceased’s parents have consistently accused Pyongyang for the death of their son and even, in April 2018, filed a lawsuit against North Korea for “torturing and murdering” the young American.
Otto Warmbier traveled to the Asian country as a tourist at the end of 2015 with Young Pioneer Tours and, at the end of his visit, was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on charges of stealing a billboard from the hotel where he stayed.
Warmbier, 22, died in June 2017 after spending more than a year and a half in detention in North Korea, and after he returned to the United States in a coma shortly before his death.
His death further sharpened the rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang at that time, alongside with the continuous weapons tests of the North Korean government, and prompted the US State Department to prohibit its citizens from traveling to the Asian country, a ruling that still remains in force.