The parents of U.S. college student Otto Warmbier sued North Korea on Thursday over their son’s death in 2017 following his release from captivity there, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court.
The wrongful-death suit comes at a diplomatically delicate time, just weeks ahead of an expected meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump. Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in also are set to meet on Friday.
“Otto was taken hostage, kept as a prisoner for political purposes, used as a pawn and singled out for exceptionally harsh and brutal treatment by Kim Jong Un,” his father Fred Warmbier said in a statement. “Kim and his regime have portrayed themselves as innocent, while they intentionally destroyed our son’s life. This lawsuit is another step in holding North Korea accountable for its barbaric treatment of Otto and our family.”
Warmbier, a 22-year-old student from Wyoming, Ohio, was imprisoned in North Korea from January 2016 until he returned to the United States in a coma. He died a few days after his return, and an Ohio coroner blamed lack of oxygen and blood to the brain. North Korea blamed botulism and ingestion of a sleeping pill and dismissed torture claims.
“North Korea, which is a rogue regime, took Otto hostage for its own wrongful ends and brutally tortured and murdered him,” the wrongful-death lawsuit said.
North Korea does not have an embassy in the United States. A representative of the North Korean mission to the United Nations in New York was not immediately available to comment.
Warmbier’s attorney, Benjamin Hatch, did not respond to a request for comment about the timing of the lawsuit.
Reporting by Ian Simpson and Ben Klayman; Editing by David Gregorio
Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report
Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.
The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.
"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.
Jeanine Pirro pushes conspiracy theory 2016 election interference ‘apparently’ started in Ukraine
The United States intelligence community is united in the conclusion that it was Russia that interred in America's 2016 presidential election.
But Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro said that 2016 election interference "apparently" started in Ukraine.
The conspiracy theory underlying the false claim resulted in President Donald Trump seeking foreign election interference from Ukraine, the scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.
Pirro also said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Geoge Kent is a "bozo."
Video of Pirro's opening was posted on Twitter by President Donald Trump:
WATCH: Pete Buttigieg surges to first place in ‘gold standard’ poll of Iowa caucuses
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg surged in a poll of Iowa released Saturday night.
The poll, by Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom, showed major movement in the race.
"Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor," the newspaper reported.