North Korea sentences US tourist to 15 years in prison

Otto Warmbier

North Korea’s highest court sentenced an American tourist to 15 years in prison with hard labor on Wednesday for subversion.

Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, was convicted and sentenced in a one-hour trial in North Korea’s Supreme Court.

He was charged with subversion under Article 60 of North Korea’s criminal code. The court held that he had committed a crime “pursuant to the U.S. government’s hostile policy toward (the North), in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist.”

Before the trial, the 21-year-old from Wyoming, Ohio, said he had tried to steal a propaganda banner as a trophy for an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church. That would be grounds in North Korea for a subversion charge.In a tearful statement made before his trial, Warmbier told a gathering of reporters in Pyongyang he tried to take the banner as a trophy for the mother of a friend who said she wanted to put it up in her church.Warmbier said he accepted the offer because his family was “suffering from very severe financial difficulties.”

North Korea announced Warmbier’s arrest in late January, saying he committed an anti-state crime with “the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation.” It remains unclear how the U.S. government was allegedly connected to Warmbier’s actions.

-more at ABC News

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