North Korea arrested 21-year-old Otto Warmbier on Jan. 2 for allegedly trying to remove a political propaganda poster at a hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea. The university student was released and flown back home in June — but not before he suffered from severe brain damage and lapsed into a coma he never awoke from.
Just two days after his release, Warmbier’s fever spiked and after four days, he died.
Now, for the first time since their son’s demise, his parents have spoken out.
Cindy and Fred Warmbier did not mince words, revealing horrific details surrounding their son's final days in the United States. They pointed out the hermit kingdom’s inhumane acts toward their son directly.
"We're here to tell you, as witnesses to the terror of their regime, North Korea is not a victim. We felt it was time to tell the truth about the condition that Otto was in," Fred told CNN.
“They’re terrorists. They kidnapped Otto, tortured him, they intentionally injured him.”
The parents explained how Wambier was blind, deaf and shaking on the stretcher when they first met him after his release.
"We hear this loud, guttural, howling, inhuman sound" Otto Warmbier's dad on meeting his son upon N. Korea return https://t.co/eYwwkFcZRJ— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) September 26, 2017
"He was on his deathbed when he came home to us," he lamented.
"That's why they released him," added Cindy Warmbier. "They didn't want him to die on their soil."
After his release, a team of physicians took over his medical care at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Ohio. The doctors there said he was in a “state of unresponsive wakefulness” and showed no sign of “understanding language” or “awareness of his surroundings.”
They later found out Warmbier had been in a coma for a year. According to North Korean authorities, the condition was a result of botulism and Warmbier taking a sleeping pill after the trial.
But the physicians didn’t find any signs of active botulism after running some tests.
Warmbier’s family further explained they lost their son because of supreme leader Kim Jong-Un’s propensity toward abhorrent human rights abuses.
"Otto was abandoned by his family, his country and the rest of the world," said Fred. "Ultimately when Kim [Jong-un] made the decision, Otto was tortured, and essentially murdered. Enough. Enough."
Several people, including children, are detained in the inhumane political prisons and other detention facilities in the hermit kingdom. Most of them are forced to work in mines. Many of them haven’t event committed any crime and are merely relatives of those who are considered guilty of crimes against the state.
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, KCNA