U.S. President Donald Trump stated he takes Kim Jong Un’s phrase that he didn’t know concerning the mistreatment of Otto Warmbier — the American faculty pupil who died after being imprisoned in North Korea.
In December 2015, Warmbier, who was 21 on the time, was arrested in North Korea throughout an organized tour and charged with stealing a propaganda poster. He was imprisoned for greater than a yr and sentenced to 15 years of onerous labour. He was lastly despatched residence to his dad and mom in the US in July 2017 — however was in a coma. He died a number of days later.
His household stated he was “brutally tortured” whereas in jail.
WATCH: U.S. pupil in coma dies days after launch from North Korea
Talking in Vietnam on Thursday, after his summit with Kim fell aside, Trump stated he spoke with Kim about Warmbier’s loss of life and the North Korean chief feels “badly about it.”
He stated doesn’t maintain the North Korea chief accountable for Warmbier’s loss of life, including he “doesn’t consider he [Kim] would have allowed that to occur.”
“I don’t consider he knew about it,” Trump stated. “He tells me that he didn’t learn about it and I’ll take him at his phrase. It simply wasn’t to his benefit to permit that to occur. Prisons are tough, they’re tough locations, and unhealthy issues occurred.”
After Warmbier’s loss of life in 2017, Trump stated he promised to “deal with” North Korea.
Throughout Trump’s 2018 State of the Union, he stated Warmbier’s dad and mom had been “highly effective witnesses” to North Korea’s horrors.
“After a shameful trial, the dictatorship sentenced Otto to 15 years of onerous labour, earlier than returning him to America final June — horribly injured and on the verge of loss of life,” Trump stated.
That is one other occasion during which Trump has believed the denial of an autocratic chief at face worth. For instance, in 2018 Trump took the phrase of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who stated he didn’t have a task within the homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Nonetheless, Trump’s intelligence committee concluded the crown prince ordered the assassination.
However Trump repeatedly stated that the crown prince denied any involvement within the journalist’s loss of life.
“Possibly he did and perhaps he didn’t,” Trump stated.
Months earlier than this, Trump additionally sided with Vladimir Putin after the Russian president denied Moscow’s meddling within the 2016 presidential election. However the U.S. intelligence committee concluded that Russia did intrude with the election.
“I’ve nice confidence in my intelligence individuals, however I’ll let you know that President Putin was extraordinarily robust and highly effective in his denial at the moment,” Trump stated a joint July media convention with Putin in Helsinki.
“I actually consider that when he tells me that, he means it,” he stated.
WATCH: ‘I consider he believes,’ Trump says about Putin claims he didn’t learn about any election interference
Final yr, Warmbier’s dad and mom filed a $1-billion wrongful loss of life lawsuit in opposition to the North Korea authorities in 2018. Fred and Cindy Warmbier stated the North Korean authorities tortured and killed their son.
WATCH: Trump says North Korea has ‘no respect for human life’
Within the lawsuit, they stated their son was “taken hostage, stored as a prisoner for political functions, used as a pawn and singled out for exceptionally harsh and brutal therapy by Kim Jong Un. Kim and his regime have portrayed themselves as harmless, whereas they deliberately destroyed our son’s life.”
The lawsuit additionally described in horrific element the bodily abuse Warmbier endured in North Korean custody.
It stated when his dad and mom boarded a aircraft to see him upon arrival within the U.S., they had been “shocked to see his situation.”
The 22-year-old was blind and deaf, his arms had been curled and mangled and he was jerking violently and howling, fully unresponsive to his household’s makes an attempt to consolation him. His as soon as straight enamel had been misaligned, and he had an unexplained wound on his foot. An professional stated in courtroom papers that the accidents steered he had been tortured with electrocution.
A neurologist later concluded that the faculty pupil suffered mind injury, seemingly from a lack of blood circulation to the mind.
A U.S. courtroom dominated that North Korea has to pay the household $501 million within the wrongful loss of life lawsuit.
WATCH: Video showing to indicate Otto Warmbier taking North Korean banner launched
— With information from the Related Press
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