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Home / World / US court calls on North Korea to pay $ 501 million for the death of an American student

US court calls on North Korea to pay $ 501 million for the death of an American student



WASHINGTON, December 24 (Reuters) – A US court on Monday ordered Pyongyang to pay $ 501 million in damages for the torture and death of American college student Otto Warmbier Died shortly after being released from a North Korean prison in 2017.

Warmbier's parents sued North Korea in April for the death of their son. The 22-year-old student died in a coma a few days after returning to the United States, and a Ohio medical examiner said the cause of death was a lack of oxygen and blood in the brain.

"North Korea is responsible for the torture, kidnapping and extrajudicial killings of Otto Warmbier, as well as the injuries to his mother and father Fred and Cindy Warmbier," said Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court for the District of Colombia in her ruling.

blamed Pyongyang for botulism and taking a sleeping pill for Warmbier's death and rejecting torture allegations.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement that they had promised justice to their son.

"We are grateful that the United States is fair and open The judicial system so that the world can see that the Kim regime is legally and morally responsible for Otto's death," said the Warmbiers.

"We are subjecting ourselves and our family to a trial and a public trial because we have promised Otto that we will not do it he will rest until we have justice for him," they said. "Today's thoughtful opinion of Chief Howle is a significant step in our journey."

Howell's verdict was a default judgment, a sort of ruling against a party that does not appear in court. Default judgments against foreign defendants are often difficult to obtain.

US. Courts can compensate owners of default judgments by ordering the confiscation of funds or other assets in the country, which is unlikely in this case, as sanctions prohibit North Korea from accessing the US financial system.

The verdict comes at a sensitive time Diplomatic relations between the US and North Korea, while the two countries are negotiating the dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

Connected: mourners gather to remember Otto Warmbier:

11 Otto Warmbier

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Mourners protrude outside the art center in front of a memorial service for Otto Warmbier, who died after his release from North Korea at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio (USA) on June 22, 2017, back. REUTERS John Sommers II

Mourners wait in line at the art center in line for a funeral service for Otto Warmbier, who died following his release from North Korea at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio, USA. 22, 2017. REUTERS / John Summer II

WYOMING, OH-JUNE 21: The City of Wyoming, Ohio, is preparing for the funeral of Otto Warmbier on June 21, 2017 in Wyoming, Ohio. The 22-year-old student was released from a North Korean prison in a coma last Tuesday after spending 17 months in captivity for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. (Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, addresses a media service outside the art center for a funeral service for Otto Warmbier, who died following his release from North Korea at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio (USA) on June 22, 2017. REUTERS / John Sommers II

WYOMING, OH-JUNE 21: Blue and white ribbons are shown at the entrance to Oak Hill Cemetery the day before the funeral of Otto Warmbier on June 21, 2017 in Wyoming, Ohio. The 22-year-old student was released from a North Korean prison in a coma last Tuesday after spending 17 months in captivity for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. (Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

Mourners is facing a memorial service for Otto Warmbier, who died following his release from North Korea at Wyoming High School, Wyoming, Ohio on June 22, 2017. REUTERS / John Sommers II

The mourners are waiting in front of the art center before a funeral service on Otto Warmbier, who died after his release from North Korea at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio (USA) on June 22, 2017. REUTERS / John Sommers II

The mourners are next to the arts center in front of a memorial service for Otto Warmbier, who died after his release from North Korea at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio (USA) on June 22, 2017. REUTERS / John Sommers II

WYOMING, OH-21. June: A man brings balloons to Wyoming High School, the site of tomorrow's funeral for Otto Warmbier on June 21, 2017 in Wyoming, Ohio. The 22-year-old student was released from a North Korean prison in a coma last Tuesday after spending 17 months in captivity for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. (Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)

Outside the art center, Mourners is facing a memorial service for Otto Warmbier, who died following his release from North Korea at Wyoming High School, Wyoming, Ohio on June 22, 2017 REUTERS / John Sommers II

WYOMING, OH-JUNE 21: The City of Wyoming, Ohio, is preparing for the funeral of Otto Warmbier on June 21, 2017 in Wyoming, Ohio. The 22-year-old student was released from a North Korean prison in a coma last Tuesday after spending 17 months in captivity for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster. (Photo by Bill Pugliano / Getty Images)




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President Donald Trump said that hot beer had not died in vain, and his death helped initiate a process that became one this year historic meeting led Trump and North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was detained in North Korea for 17 months from January 2016. He had visited the country as a tourist. North Korea's state media reported he was sentenced to 15 years of forced labor for trying to steal an article with a propaganda slogan from his hotel.

(Additional coverage by Jan Wolfe, editors of Mary Milliken and Cynthia Osterman)


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