A New York court confiscated $240,000 from a North Korean bank and gave it to the family of Warmbier, an American student who died after being detained by North Korea.
Judge Lawrence Kahn of the Northern District Court of New York last week approved the seizure of funds from North Korea’s Kwangson Bank, after the bank failed to respond to the seizure order. AFP Today, citing court documents.
“The judgment awarded Cynthia Warmbier and Fredrerick Warmbier (Warbier’s parents) $240,336, plus any accrued interest on that amount,” court documents said.
Otto Warmbier, born in 1994, is a student at the University of Virginia in the US, coming to Hong Kong at the end of 2015 to complete a study abroad program. Warmbier traveled from China to North Korea for a New Year holiday but was arrested in January 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of re-education labor after he stole a poster from a hotel.
In June 2017, North Korea announced that Warmbier had fallen into a coma after a doctor wrongly prescribed sleeping pills to treat botulism. The US sent a special plane to bring Otto home on June 13, 2017. The family decided to discontinue Otto’s life support system 6 days later.
According to the neurologist who examined Warmbier when he returned to the country, the victim’s brain was damaged due to lack of blood for a period of 5 – 20 minutes. Doctors said that there were no traces of damage on the skull when analyzing the CT scan. The director of the Pyongyang Friendship Hospital, where Otto Warmbier was treated before being sent back to the US, denied the torture allegations.
Warmbier’s parents sued North Korea for allegedly torturing and killing their son. In 2018, a US judge ordered North Korea to pay Warmbier’s family $501 million. However, North Korea is believed to have few assets in the US and has ignored the ruling.
Huyen Le (Follow AFP)