Warmbier's family responds to son's detainment

State Department, Swedish Embassy working to secure Warmbier's release, parents say

nspyongyangairportnorthkoreacourtesywikimediacommons

Third-year Commerce student Otto Warmbier was detained Jan. 2 in the Pyongyang International Airport while on a trip with Young Pioneer Tours. 

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Third-year Commerce student Otto Warmbier’s family released a statement regarding Warmbier’s confession to a “hostile act” against the North Korean government Sunday.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Otto Warmbier’s parents, said they have not heard from their son during his detainment in North Korea, and they have only seen a few photographs of him.

“He seems to be in good health, although we won't know for sure about his condition until we have a chance to speak with him,” the family said in a statement.

The family said the U.S. State Department and the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang have been working to try to secure Warmbier’s release and thanked them for their efforts.

Their statements follow a press conference Sunday allegedly arranged at Warmbier’s request in which Warmbier confessed to attempting to steal a political banner from his hotel in Pyongyang. It is unknown whether this confession was coerced.

In his confession, Warmbier apologized for his alleged actions.

“I hope the fact that he has conveyed his sincere apology for anything that he may have done wrong will now make it possible for the DPRK authorities to allow him to return home,” his parents said. “I urge the DPRK government to consider his youth and make an important humanitarian gesture by allowing him to return to his loved ones.”

This is the first public statement from Warmbier’s family since his detainment on Jan. 2 at Pyongyang Airport.

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