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Home » The Human Element » NORTH KOREA: Otto Warmbier’s family take legal action to seize cargo ship.

NORTH KOREA: Otto Warmbier’s family take legal action to seize cargo ship.

PortandTerminal.com, July 6, 2019

Cruelty has consequences. Otto Warmbier’s family has filed a claim against the seized North Korean cargo ship from last month’s news.

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA – Otto Warmbier’s parents have filed a legal claim for a North Korean cargo ship that was seized by the US May 2019. The ship in question is The Wise Honest, North Korea’s 2nd largest cargo ship.

We are committed to holding North Korea accountable for the death of our son Otto, and will work tirelessly to seize North Korean assets wherever they may be found,”  the Warmbiers said in a statement.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier successfully brought a case against North Korea for the death of their son. They were awarded a $500 million dollar judgement which they have yet to collect.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier are seeking the ship to satisfy part of a $500 million judgment against North Korea awarded in December for the death of their 22-year-old son. 

The Wise Honest

North Korean cargo ship Jin Teng AFP PHOTO / ROBERT GONZAGA / AFP / ROBERT GONZAGA

The Wise Honest may not be much to look at but the bulk coal-carrying ship is a strategic vessel in North Korea’s fleet. Justice Department officials say the vessel was used to illicitly ship coal and deliver much needed heavy machinery to North Korea.

The Trump administration seized it last May claiming that the bulk carrier was violating American law and international sanctions. After its seizure, the vessel was towed into American Samoa.

The Warmbier family has reasonably requested that the cargo ship seizure could be used to pay off part of the family’s successful $500 million legal judgment against North Korea for the brutal torture and killing of their son Otto.

Otto Warmbier

Otto (centre) pictured with college friends

Otto Warmbier was an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea in 2016. In June 2017, he was released by North Korea in a vegetative state and died soon afterwards. Warmbier entered North Korea as part of a guided tour group on December 29, 2015.

Otto was accused of attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel, for which he was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labor. North Korea detained him for more than a year before returning him to the U.S. in 2017 in a vegetative state. He died just days later.

Otto was detained by North Korea for a year and was released in a vegetative state. He died days after his release.

President Trump acknowledged that Otto Warmbier was mistreated while in custody saying, “I really believe something very bad happened to him”. He went on to absolve Korean leader Kim Jong Un of any involvement or blame in the matter saying “He (Kim) tells me he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word”.

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