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North Korea ordered to pay $500 million to family of Otto Warmbier in wrongful death lawsuit, judge says

Posted at 2:49 PM, Dec 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-24 14:49:38-05

CINCINNATI — A U.S. District judge has ordered North Korea to pay $500 million to the family of Otto Warmbier in a lawsuit filed against the country on Monday.

Warmbier died days after he was flown back to Cincinnati from North Korea, where he had been imprisoned for 17 months.

His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier filed the lawsuit against North Korea in April.

Warmbier returned home with such severe brain injury that he was blind, deaf and completely unresponsive, according to the lawsuit.

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Judge Beryl Howell said the estate of Otto Warmbier is entitled to $21 million in compensatory damages and $150 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit also said his parents are entitled to $15 million in compensatory damages and $150 million in punitive damages.

North Korean officials alleged he conspired with an Ohio church, along with the CIA, the motion states.

On Feb. 26, 2016, North Korea televised Warmbier reciting a prepared confession against North Korea, that amounted to him allegedly taking down a poster with a political slogan supporting the country's dictator from a hotel's staff-only area while visiting the country with a tour group.

In March 2016, North Korea convicted Warmbier on a charge of state subversion and sentenced him to 15 years of hard labor, based on his purported "confession" to the crime, the lawsuit states.