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Demand the White House pressures North Korea to release imprisoned American Otto Warmbier

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Otto Warmbier is an American college student who was arrested on January 2nd, 2016 in North Korea for stealing a sign banner as a souvenir for his church while vacationing there on a tourist visa. Warmbier is effectively a political prisoner of North Korea and deserves the full support of the United States in securing his freedom and safe return. The Trump administration has the power to increase sanctions imposed on North Korea to force their hand to release him. He was only 21 years old when he was arrested and has his entire life ahead of him. His trial lasted only and hour before being sentenced to 15 YEARS OF HARD LABOR on March 15th, 2016.

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Otto Warmbier was arrested for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel while visiting North Korea in January.

He later appeared on state TV apparently confessing and saying a church group had asked him to bring back a "trophy" from his trip.

North Korea sometimes uses the detention of foreigners as a means of exerting pressure on its adversaries.

North Korean state news agency KCNA said Warmbier was convicted under an article of the criminal code relating to subversion. A verdict was handed down by the Supreme Court after a one-hour trial and Warmbier was sentenced to 15 YEARS OF HARD LABOR.

Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, was arrested on 2 January as he was trying to leave North Korea. He was accused of committing "hostile acts".

KCNA said at the time he had gone to North Korea "to destroy the country's unity" and that he had been "manipulated" by the US government.

At the end of February, at a tearful press conference in Pyongyang, he said he had "committed the crime of taking down a political slogan from the staff holding area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel".

"The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people. This was a very foolish aim," he was quoted as saying.

He said it was the "worst mistake" of his life.

 



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