N. Korea sentences US student to 15 years hard labor for…STEALING A HOTEL SIGN
North Korea’s Supreme Court sentenced an American tourist to 15 years of hard labor on Wednesday for “subversion.” The 21-year-old student had tried to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel he stayed at in January.
Otto Warmbier, an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia, was sentenced in a speedy one-hour trial, reports Associated Press.
The Wyoming, Ohio native confessed to trying to steal the propaganda banner as a trophy for the mother of a friend who wanted to hang it in her church, while visiting North Korea with a New Year’s tour group. He was arrested while trying to leave in early January.
Trials for foreigners on similar charges are usually short and punishments are harsh in North Korea, but Warmbier’s sentencing is particularly severe, likely given the current high tensions between the despotic regime and the US over Pyongyang’s nuclear tests.
Warmbier was accused in late January of committing a crime against North Korea with “the tacit connivance of the US government and under its manipulation.”
The young student had been staying at the Yanggakdo International Hotel, and was charged with trying to take the propaganda banner from an area reserved for North Korean staff and forbidden to foreigners.
In a press conference in Pyongyang before the trial, Warmbier tearfully said he tried to take the banner as a trophy
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