North Korea has denied allegations that Otto Warmbier’s death was its fault, but regrets being the “biggest victim” of the mystery.
The 22-year-old student of Commerce at Virginia University visited Kim Jong Un’s country on a tourist visa, and was alleged to have broken international laws by stealing some political symbols while at a hotel.
He was caught in February 2016, tried in court the following month in a nationwide broadcast, and sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor.
Unfortunately for the Cincinatti-born “victim of circumstance,” he was released by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on “humanitarian grounds” barely 17 months after his incarceration.
Otto returned home in coma and died few days afterwards.
Speaking through its Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea said it has no hand in the American student’s death, denying allegations that he suffered “torture” in their hands.
While Kim’s country insists that it has become the biggest victim in Otto’s death, the KCNA blames America and South Korea for insults on DPRK’s “kind treatment” of him.
According to The Associated Press, the comments published by KCNA were North Korea’s first reaction to Otto’s death.
Doctors at Cincinatti Medical Center said he suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause.
Although the American student was blamed for trying to steal a political poster, among other items, KCNA argued that North Korea dealt with him according to its domestic laws and international standards.
The North Korean mouthpiece also blamed their neighbor South Korea for trying to exploit Otto’s case for the release of other prisoners — three Americans and twelve of their own.
KCNA went further in its allegations against their nemesis, saying the south tried to tarnish DPRK’s image with “slanderous talks of torture and cruel treatment.”
“Although we had no reason at all to show mercy to such a criminal of the enemy state,” KCNA wrote in the article, “we provided him with medical treatments and care with all sincerity on humanitarian basis until his return to the U.S., considering that his health got worse.”
In the report, an unnamed spokesperson for N. Korea’s Foreign Ministry was quoted as saying that the American doctors who visited Kim’s country to complete negotiations for Otto Warmbier’s release, can attest to their “kind treatment” of the deceased.
The doctors “recognized that his health indicators like pulse, temperature, respiration and the examination result of the heart and lung were all normal [before he left the country].”
According to AP, no mention was made of Otto’s neurological status.
“The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S. in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well,” the spokesman added.
“To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident and there would be no more foolish judgment than to think we do not know how to calculate gains and losses.
“The smear campaign against (North Korea) staged in the U.S. compels us to make firm determination that humanitarianism and benevolence for the enemy are a taboo and we should further sharpen the blade of law,” said the government rep.