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North Korea Declares Itself ‘Biggest Victim’ In Otto Warmbier’s Death

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North Korea claims it is the “biggest victim” after sending an American college student imprisoned for over a year home in a coma, from which he never awoke.

Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was detained last January for allegedly pilfering a propaganda poster. The young student was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor two months later at a tearful public trial, immediately after which he, for reasons unknown, fell into a coma. Warmbier returned home on June 13 and died Monday.

There has been wide speculation that Warmbier suffered some form of physical abuse, which caused “severe damage to all regions of his brain” and ultimately led to his death. Medical professionals, however, have refused to publicly speculate on the cause. While his family asserts the boy “brutalized” by the “pariah” regime, doctors have found no signs of physical trauma, nor have they found evidence to support North Korea’s claims that he developed a rare form of food poisoning. As no autopsy was conducted, the cause of Warmbier’s coma and death remain unknown.

North Korea denies any mistreatment.

“Although we had no reason at all to show mercy to such a criminal of the enemy state, we provided him with medical treatment and care with all sincerity on a humanitarian basis until his return to the U.S., considering that his health got worse,” the Korean Central News Agency said Friday.

Some American officials declared that North Korea “murdered” him, and proposed that the U.S. take action against Pyongyang, through travel restrictions and tougher economic sanctions.

“The U.S. totally distorted this truth and dared to clamor about ‘retaliation’ and ‘pressure’ on the dignified DPRK while deliberately kicking up the smearing campaign against the DPRK,” the foreign ministry argued in a statement, “This is a frontal challenge and political plot against us.”

“To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident and there would be no more foolish judgement than to think we do not know how to calculate gains and losses.”

North Korea hinted that Warmbier’s death is the fault of the U.S., adding that “the U.S. should ponder over the consequences” of “its reckless and rash act.”

Warmbier was laid to rest Thursday after a memorial service at his high school in Ohio.

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