Following news of Otto Warmbier’s death earlier today, former U.S. President Barack Obama has come under fire for his perceived inaction in bringing the 22-year-old home from North Korea while he was in office.
As the BBC reports, Warmbier – who spent 15 months in captivity after allegedly stealing a propaganda sign from a hotel – returned to the U.S. last Tuesday, at which point his family learned that he had been in a coma for a year.
According to the BBC, North Korean officials stated that the coma was a result of botulism – a fact U.S. doctors disputed, stating he had been suffering from severe brain damage.
Tragically, earlier today, Warmbier’s family stated, “it is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.”
The statement reportedly added, “the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”
Prior to his son’s death, Fred Warmbier stated that Obama had not done enough to bring the 22-year-old home.
“When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release,” he said at a press conference last week upon learning his son would be freed, as Breitbart reports.
“We did so, without result. Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over, and we made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with Ambassador Joe Yun at the State Department,” he continued.
As for the Trump administration, Fred Warmbier said he was “extremely grateful for their efforts and concern,” adding that President Donald Trump called him personally to discuss Otto last Wednesday night.
See Fred Warmbier’s remarks below.
Also under heavy criticism, suitably so, is North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.
“Let us state the facts plainly,” said Arizona Senator John McCain following Otto Warmbier’s death, as Business Insider reports.
“Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong-un regime. In the final year of his life, he lived the nightmare in which the North Korean people have been trapped for 70 years: forced labor, mass starvation, systematic cruelty, torture, and murder.”
According to Fox News, President Donald Trump stated, “Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing,” adding that “the United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”
Fox News further states that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also holds North Korea accountable for Warmbier’s “unjust imprisonment” and issued a demand for North Korea to release three other Americans it is holding captive.