Petition drive started to bring attention to local man in North Korea

Petition drive started for Cincinnati man (VIDEO)

WYOMING, OH (FOX19) - As Wyoming's Otto Warmbeir sits in a North Korea prison cell, a petition has been started to help get him set free.

The Tri-State native has been jailed since the beginning of the year when he was accused of committing  "hostile acts."

That lead North Korea to sentence him to 15 years hard labor. Since his sentence, you'be had a little more than 80 people sign a petition for him to be freed.

We were unable to find any information on exactly what hard labor would be, but several outlets detail the conditions that surround it.

A 2009 Washington Post story reads, "prisoners are fed a few ounces of rotten corn and a kind of salt soup." The report in the Washington post goes on to say quote, "prisoners "lose their teeth, their gums turn black, their bones weaken and, as they age, they hunch over at the waist … they live and die in rags, without soap, socks or underwear."

Another article by the online website, The Guardian, which quotes a former prisoner reads, "Torture is common, there is no medical aid and the sanitation is horrible. They wear the torn uniforms of old prisoners and sleep crammed together in a room."

It's unclear what type of camp Warmbeir will be in and whether he will be forced to actually do hard labor or not.

FOX19 NOW contacted his mother, but she declined our request for an interview.

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