22-year-old Otto Warmbier a former prisoner of North Korea was allowed to return to the United States this past Tuesday because after more than a year because while in a coma his condition had worsened.
Officials in the communist country said that the cause of Warmbier’s comma was botulism but every doctor in the US who has examined him dispute that finding.
If you recall, Otto Warmbier had been imprisoned and sentenced to 15 years hard labor for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a North Korean hotel. Accounts get kind of blurry here but eventually, it was reported he did suffer brain damage before North Korea allowed him to return to his hometown of Cincinnati Ohio on June 13, 2017.
Warmbier’s family seems to have no doubt as to the former North Korean prisoners cause of death attributing it to the torture he suffered at the hands of his jailers.
“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm,” a statement from the family said.
“The awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”
In a statement released by the White House today, President Donald Trump said Warmbier’s death had deepened his administration’s resolve “to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency”.
“The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” the presidential statement added.
Warrbier visited North Korea on his vacation as part of a China-based tour group. That group has since announced it will no longer allow United States citizens to take part of any tour to North Korea.
“The way his detention was handled was appalling and a tragedy like this must never be repeated,” Young Pioneer Tours said in a statement.
“Despite constant requests, we were denied any opportunity to meet him or anyone in contact with him in Pyongyang, only receiving assurances that he was fine.”
About a week before he was released Warrbier’s parents became aware of his dire medical situation and took their story to the Washington Post. After the Washington Post posted an article about Warrbier officials in North Korea went on the defensive and quickly claimed Warrbier contracted botulism, a rare disease which can trigger paralysis after his March 2016 trial.
Doctors allegedly administered a sleeping pill to help with Warrbier’s health issues and he had been in a coma ever sense.
Doctors who examined Warrbier prior to his death dispute this claim stating there was no sign of botulism in his body at all. They also said there was no evidence to substantiate any alleged abuse by his North Korean captors.
They assume his condition was caused by respiratory arrest triggered by an unknown cost lack of oxygen and blood to Warrbier’s brain.
North Korea does have a history of torturing and forcing absurd confessions from its detainees. Warrbier did appear at a news conference back in 2016 confessing that he was trying to take this sign as a trophy adding “The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people.”
North Korea issued a statement stating Mr. Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds”.
Many US officials are calling the death and obvious mistreatment of Warmbier a grounds to declare war on North Korea. Some people including the media have suggested this was the final straw and the US should make a preemptive strike on the communist country even if it requires a nuclear attack.
I believe that if the United States even feigned a nuclear attack it would force the Chinese government to take action on the Korean peninsula because the amount of North Korean refugees they would receive would cripple their economy. No other country would come to their defense so as long as South Korea refused any refugees China’s hand would be forced.
In the coming days we will see what becomes of this but obviously, the death of one of our wrongfully imprisoned citizens is a deep cause for concern and might be something the United States government won’t be able to overlook. Stay tuned unless we all die in a nuclear war.