North Korea on Friday accused the US of exploiting the death of Otto Warmbier, the American student who was held prisoner in Pyongyang for over a year.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman accused Washington of lying about the case, after forensics results, released on September 28, failed to clarify the causes of the 22-year-old Warmbier’s death or confirm whether he was tortured in North Korea, a hypothesis defended by his family and the White House, reports Efe news.
“The fact that the US even employs a dead man for its conspiracy campaign aimed at the international community to increase pressure on North Korea shows the viciousness of its hostility towards us.
“The American doctors, who performed the medical examination on Warmbier last June in our country, and even others who did so after his return to the US, recognized exactly that there was no ‘torture’ in this case,” the spokesman added.
Pyongyang stresses that Warmbier “was a criminal who was sentenced to reform through labour on March 16, 2016” under the North Korean law for committing “hostile acts” directed by Washington.
However, the North Korean authorities provided “sincere medical care” to the student because of his failing health, released him and allowed him to return to his country “on humanitarian grounds,” the text added.
North Korea claimed that the manipulation of Warmbier’s case is another provocation by “the old lunatic Trump and his riff-raff” who “slandered the sacred dignity of our supreme leadership, using bogus data full of falsehood and fabrications,” and warned that this only serves to “redouble the surging hatred of our army and people towards the US and their will to retaliate thousand-fold.”
The US coroner’s report did not clarify the causes of Warmbier’s death from lack of oxygen and blood in the brain, following an external examination of the body, as the parents did not want a complete autopsy.
Warmbier was arrested in North Korea in January 2016 while visiting the country as a tourist and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for attempting to steal a political propaganda poster from a hotel in Pyongyang.
He had been in a coma for more than a year when he was released in June 2017, and a week later he died in his home country.
Pyongyang claimed Warmbier had contracted botulism and was given a sleeping pill, but he did not wake up again.