US judge orders North Korea to pay $501M to Otto Warmbier’s family

A US federal judge has ordered North Korea to pay $501 million to the family of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died last year after being released from a prison in the hermit kingdom, according to reports.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier of Ohio had requested $1.05 billion in punitive damages and about $46 million for the family’s suffering in a motion filed in October in US District Court in Washington, DC.

District Judge Beryl Howell ruled Monday that they established their claim or right to relief — granting their motion for default judgment, but not for the entire amount, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Howell said the estate of the 22-year-old University of Virginia student is entitled to $21 million in compensatory damages and $150 million in punitive damages.

Warmbier’s parents also are entitled to $15 million in compensatory damages and $150 million in punitive damages, according to the judge.

The couple’s motion was part of a civil lawsuit brought against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, alleging the “rogue regime” took Warmbier hostage “for its own wrongful ends and brutally tortured and murdered him.”

Warmbier died in June 2017 after suffering a severe neurological injury during his year and a half in prison.

He was arrested in Pyongyang in January 2016 and accused of trying to swipe a propaganda poster from a hotel. He was paraded in front of a kangaroo court and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Pyongyang claimed he had fallen into a coma after contracting botulism and being given a sleeping pill — but he reportedly was subjected to a severe beating.

Fred Warmbier has said his son was “on his deathbed” when he returned to the US in a comatose state. He died less than a week after being sent home.

“Otto was systematically tortured and intentionally injured by Kim Jong [Un] … Kim, and his regime. This was no accident,” he said in September 2017.

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