Home / TRAVEL / North Korea latest news: Otto Warmbier crime deserved gulag says KFA

North Korea latest news: Otto Warmbier crime deserved gulag says KFA


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LOCKED UP: Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for an alleged poster theft

Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in the gulag after allegedly attempting to steal a poster while visiting North Korea.

When he was finally released from Kim’s clutches this week, the youth had been in a coma for the better part of a year.

The disproportionately harsh judgement sparked outrage, but Kim sympathisers say the punishment fits the crime.

The pro-Pyongyang Korean Friendship Association said Warmbier’s crime was as bad as punching the Queen.


Otto Warmbier and Dermot Hudson of the UK KFAREUTERS/MICHAEL HAVIS


KIM’S MAN IN BRITAIN: Dermot Hudson, Korean Friendship Association and, inset, Otto Warmbier


“I’m sure he was really working for a US intelligence agency”


Dermot Hudson, KFA

Dermot Hudson, the chair of its UK branch, also accused the 22-year-old student of being on the CIA payroll.

Mr Hudson told the Daily Star Online: “He’d gone into a staff area where he shouldn’t have gone. That’s the first thing.

“And he was trying to deface a revolutionary slogan symbolising the Korean people’s unity. So it was seen as trying to subvert that unity.

“It was an act trying to subvert the socialist system. It’s like trying to bomb Buckingham Palace or punching the Queen, something like that.”

He added: “I’m sure he was really working for a US intelligence agency and that they’ve paid his family off. You know, compensated them.

“And of course his case has been made worse by the US’s hostile policy towards North Korea. That means there can’t be any leniency.”

North Korea says Warmbier stole the poster from the Yanggakdo International Hotel, where roughly 100 Westerners were staying.

He was arrested at Pyongyang Airport on January 2, 2016, before he could board a plane departing the secretive state.


UK KFA protest outside US embassy in LondonMICHAEL HAVIS


CRUSADING FOR COMMUNISM: Dermot Hudson and KFA members protest outside the US embassy in London

Nothing was heard from Otto after his trial and Swedish diplomats acting on behalf of the US could not see him.

His release this week coincided with a visit to Pyongyang by basketball player Dennis Rodman, a close friend of Kim Jong-un.

Officials involved in negotiating the student’s freedom said it was a “bizarre coincidence” perhaps meant to distract from his condition.

The Korean Friendship Association is led by Kim’s man in Europe, Alejandro Cao De Benos, a special representative of North Korea’s government.


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