On Thursday of June 18, U.S. Senator Rob Portman honored the life of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was imprisoned in North Korea for allegedly stealing a North Korean propaganda poster.
Otto Frederick Warmbier was an American college student who was on a China-based budget tour of North Korea with a group that included ten other U.S.
citizens. Warmbier was imprisoned and mistreated under the North Korean regime. Warmbier was finally released after 17 months of imprisonment only to be stuck in a comatose state. After six days of returning back home to the U.S. on June 19, 2017, he died in a vegetative state.
Senator Portman introduced a resolution to commemorate the life of Otto, to condemn the North Korean regime, and to call for the United States to utilize its voice to vote in the United Nations to condemn systemic human rights violations in North Korea.
"Our resolution calls for the United States to continue to use our voice, including at the United Nations and other forums to speak out against the human rights abuses of the North Korean government," Portman shared on the Senate floor.
"It calls for the sanctions enacted under the Otto Warmbier North Korea Nuclear Sanctions and Enforcement Act of 2019 to remain fully implemented. But most importantly, this resolution honors and remembers Otto Warmbier, lest we forget what the North Korean dictatorship did to him," Portman said.
The resolution was passed unanimously by the Senate.
In 2018, a U.S. federal court found the North Korean government liable for Warmbier's torture and death in a default judgment. In 2019, President Trump received criticism from the Warmbier parents by announcing that he believed the word of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and claimed that Kim was not responsible for Warmbier's death.