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North Korea ordered to pay family of Otto Warmbier $500 million

Otto Warmbier
Otto Warmbier
Updated: Dec. 24, 2018 at 3:17 PM EST
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - On Monday, U.S. District Court judge Beryl Howell has ordered North Korea to pay $500 million to Otto Warmbier’s family.

The family of Warmbier filed a lawsuit against North Korea requesting $1.05 billion in punitive damages.

"North Korea has repeatedly lied about the causes of Otto's condition and refuses to acknowledge its abhorrent actions," the lawsuit reads. "North Korea, which is a rogue regime, took Otto hostage for its own wrongful ends and brutally tortured and murdered him."

Fred and Cindy Warmbier said they were thankful that that the court found the government of Kim Jong Un "legally and morally" responsible for their son's death.

“We put ourselves and our family through the ordeal of a lawsuit and public trial because we promised Otto that we will never rest until we have justice for him,” they said in a joint statement. “Today’s thoughtful opinion by Chief Judge Howell is a significant step on our journey.”

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Warmbier was accused in January 2016 of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting the country. He was imprisoned by the North Korean government and suffered severe brain damage, but there were no signs of physical trauma.

Warmbier was evacuated in a coma on June 13 and returned home to his family in Cincinnati.

The 22-year-old was taken straight from the airport to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died six days later.

Court documents state the estate of Warmbier is entitled to $21 million in compensatory damages and $150 million in punitive damages. His parents are each also entitled to $15 million in compensatory damages and $150 million in punitive damages.

This past year, a North Korean spokesman denied that Otto Warmbier had been tortured while in custody.

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