N. Korea sentences US student to 15 years’ hard labour

March 16, 2016 1:00 pm
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US student Otto Frederick Warmbier has been sentenced in North Korea to 15 years hard labour for crimes against the state/AFP
US student Otto Frederick Warmbier has been sentenced in North Korea to 15 years hard labour for crimes against the state/AFP

, SEOUL, South Korea, Mar 16 – North Korea on Wednesday sentenced an American student who admitted stealing a propaganda banner from a hotel to 15 years’ hard labour for subversive activities, state media said.

The judgement was handed down on Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old student from the University of Virginia, by North Korea’s Supreme Court, the North’s official KCNA news agency said.

Overview
  • The judgement was handed down on Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old student from the University of Virginia, by North Korea's Supreme Court, the North's official KCNA news agency said.
  • In announcing the jail sentence, KCNA said Warmbier had committed his offence "pursuant to the US government's hostile policy" towards North Korea.

Observers said the harsh sentence was likely a reflection of soaring military tensions on the divided Korean peninsula following the North’s nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch a month later.

The United States took a leading role in securing the resulting sanctions that the UN Security Council imposed on the North earlier this month.

In recent weeks Pyongyang has maintained a daily barrage of nuclear strike threats against both Seoul and Washington, ostensibly over ongoing large-scale South Korea-US military drills that the North sees as provocative rehearsals for invasion.

In announcing the jail sentence, KCNA said Warmbier had committed his offence “pursuant to the US government’s hostile policy” towards North Korea.

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