North Korea has sentenced an American student to 15 years hard labor. Otto Warmbier, 21, was accused with “crimes against the state.”
North Korea has sent a young American student, who was on a trip to the country, to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. While it is not immediately clear why the student was so harshly penalized for such a petty crime, regional experts believe, the country intends to trouble the United States, which has been increasingly supporting South Korea and strongly opposing the North’s recent nuclear and rocket tests.
North Korea’s highest court sentenced the 21-year-old American tourist to 15 years in prison with hard labor for “subversion,” reported Yahoo. The sentencing took place mere weeks after authorities had presented Warmbier to the local media, where he had tearfully confessed to his “crimes” of attempting to steal a propaganda banner. Warmbier had traveled to Pyongyang on a trip organized by Young Pioneer Tours, a China-based travel company. He was arrested on January 2, 2016, as he was about to board a plane to leave the country, reported CNN.
In his confession, he had begged the “people and government of the DPR Korea” for mercy and forgiveness. The University of Virginia student “admitted” to attempting to steal a banner with a political slogan from his hotel in the North Korean capital during his brief visit, reported the Wall Street Journal. It is not clear why he wanted to take the poster or if he made the confession under duress. Seemingly reading from a typed statement, Warmbier had said the following last month.
“I committed the crime of taking down a political slogan from the staff holding area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel.”
It is an obvious fact that North Korea has a strong grudge against the United States of America. It routinely mocks the country and threatens to launch nuclear weapons. However, till date, the country hasn’t stayed true to his threats. Nonetheless, the country possesses a considerable arsenal of crude, but effective, weapons, and its routine tests indicates the country is determined to develop a true Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) that’s capable of travelling great distances, perhaps reaching America.
The country hasn’t announced why it chose to send a student to 15 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison. However, it alleged that Warmbier was “encouraged to commit the hostile act by a purported member of an Ohio church, a secretive university organization and even the CIA.” It becomes amply clear from the sentencing that the country has certainly decided to capitalize the alleged petty crime and harp on the “hostile policy” of America towards North Korea.
“He confessed to the serious offense against the DPRK he had committed, pursuant to the U.S. government’s hostile policy toward it, in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist.”
The country’s animosity towards America becomes even more apparent through the “confession” of Warmbier, who had earlier said the following during his confession before the media.
“I never, never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to commit a crime in this country. I wish that the United States administration never manipulate people like myself in the future to commit crimes against foreign countries. I entirely beg you, the people and government of the DPRK, for your forgiveness. Please! I made the worst mistake of my life!”
North Korea has committed such atrocities on a number of American citizens who have chosen to visit the country. The country routinely detains people by accusing them of either spreading religion or engaging in espionage. On a few earlier occasions, the Americans, who have been sentenced to similar sentences involving hard labor, have been released after intervention from the U.S. government.
[Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images]