The ordeal of the American student Otto Warmbier shocked the world when he was imprisoned in North Korea in January 2016.
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He was given 15 years hard labour for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster and although the country released him on “humanitarian” grounds after just 17 months, he sadly died from his injuries at his home state in Ohio, US at the young age of 22. RIP.
Now his parents, Fred and Cindy, have revealed the extent of Otto’s injuries that show how badly he suffered at the hands of the brutal North Korean regime. They started by describing the moment they first saw their son again since his imprisonment from a medical plane in the US:
We walked over to the plane, the engines are still humming, they had just landed…when we got halfway up the steps we heard this howling, involuntary, inhuman sound. We weren’t really certain what it was.
They soon discovered that the sound was coming from their son, who had suffered horrendous brain injuries.
Otto had a shaved head, he had a feeding tube coming out of his nose, he was staring blankly into space, jerking violently.
He was blind. He was deaf. As we looked at him and tried to comfort him it looked like someone had taken a pair of pliers and rearranged his bottom teeth.
In hospital, Fred and Cindy spotted various injuries on his body including a large wound on his foot.
We thought he was in a coma. You couldn’t call it a coma.
What we pictured, because we’re optimists, is that Otto would be asleep and maybe in a medically induced coma and then when our doctors here would work with him and he’d get the best care and love that he would come out of it.
Our image of Otto, as you know, was of someone just wonderful, beautiful inside and out. And to see how he came home was too much for us.
I almost passed out but I got it together and I rode in the ambulance with him. I did not want him to be alone anymore. He’d been alone for way too long. We stayed with him and loved him as best as we could.
Otto spent his final days “jerking” and “moaning” before passing away on June 19th. It’s difficult to even try to understand both the suffering that Otto endured over the last couple of years as well as the pain his parents must be feeling.
Not to mention the anger – North Korea continues to blame Otto’s death on an accident, saying that he had contracted botulism before falling into a coma after taking a sleeping pill. However, doctors who looked at his MRI scans said that there was no evidence of botulism. The country’s regime should be held accountable, but then again what hope is there when they continue to torture their own citizens in the same way without any consequence. It truly sounds like an awful place to live.