U.S. judge orders North Korea to pay $500 million in Otto Warmbier’s death

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ordered North Korea to pay more than $500 million in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died shortly after being released from that country.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell in Washington ordered the payment on Monday.

Warmbier was a University of Virginia student who was visiting North Korea with a tour group when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 on suspicion of stealing a propaganda poster.

He died in June 2017, shortly after he returned to the U.S. in a coma. His parents say he was tortured.

The judgment is largely a symbolic victory for now because there is no mechanism to force North Korea to pay.

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