Deceased US student Otto Warmbier's family on Friday filed a claim for the North Korean cargo ship which was seized by the United States in May, stating that the vessel can be used to pay off part of the family's USD 500 million judgement against the reclusive state. The late University of Virginia student was detained by North Korea in 2016 during a sightseeing tour of the country. The 22-year-old was held captive for over a year before being released to the United States in a vegetative state. He had sustained severe brain damage, lost the ability to hear or see while in detention in North Korea, according to CNN.
The Warmbiers were awarded more than half a billion dollars in a wrongful death suit against Pyongyang by a federal judge. However, North Korea did not engage in settlement discussions, leading to the family's latest move. "We are committed to holding North Korea accountable for the death of our son Otto and will work tirelessly to seize North Korean assets wherever they may be found," Otto's parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, stated.
According to the US Justice Department, the seized North Korean vessel named "Wise Honest," was used to illegally transport coal, which was sold to other countries like China, from North Korea. The US and the UN claim that Pyongyang used the funds from illegal sales to fund its nuclear programme. The vessel is the reclusive state's second largest merchant ship, capable of carrying thousands of tons of cargo.
Otto had breathed his last on June 19, 2017, just days after the US government had secured his return. (ANI)
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