CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Otto Warmbier’s parents are speaking out and contradicting President Donald Trump after he announced he doesn’t think North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un had a role in their son’s death.
“We have been respectful during this summit process. Now we must speak out. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that," Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement released Friday.
On Thursday, Trump said he did not hold North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un responsible for the mistreatment of Warmbier saying,"We have talked about it. I really don’t think it was in his interest at all. I really believe something very bad happened to him and I don’t think that the top leadership knew about it."
He responded on Twitter Friday stating he was misinterpreted, and does in fact hold North Korea responsible for Warmbier’s death.
Warmbier’s parents have maintained all along their son was tortured.
Otto Warmbier, a native of Wyoming, Ohio and a University of Virginia student, was accused in January 2016 of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting the country.
He was imprisoned by the North Korean government and suffered severe brain damage, but there were no signs of physical trauma.
Warmbier was evacuated in a coma on June 13, 2017 and returned home to his family in Cincinnati.
The 22-year-old was taken straight from the airport to University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he died six days later.
Late last year, North Korea was ordered by a federal judge to pay $500 million to the Warmbier family after they filed a lawsuit against the country requesting $1.05 billion in punitive damages.