Otto Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, is facing an incredibly tough verdict: 15 years of hard labor in a North Korean jail. 

The Theta Chi brother was arrested while traveling with the Young Pioneer Tours group through Pyongyang. According to a report done by USA Today, Warmbier was arrested for allegedly "perpetrating a hostile act." The student was attempting to steal a political banner from a hotel. He said that he wanted it as a trophy for a church member in Wyoming. 

Warmbier was sentenced after an hour long trial in the nation's supreme court. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the allegations against Warmbier "would not give rise to arrest or imprisonment in the United States or any other country."

The Obama administration has demanded that the North Korean government release the student. Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bill Richardson, met with North Korean diplomats in New York to request Warmbier's release. It is possible that he could be released after sentencing according to Richardson. 

The university is not commenting on the situation, but is remaining in touch with the family. 

North Korean officials presented Warmbier to Pyongyang media so that he could issue an apology. He called it the worst mistake of his life. 


Lead Image Credit: Karen Blaha via Wikicommons