Otto Warmbier's family files claim for seized North Korean cargo ship

Zachary Cohen

By Zachary Cohen, CNN

Updated 0431 GMT (1231 HKT) July 6, 2019

Washington (CNN)The parents of Otto Warmbier filed a claim for a North Korean cargo ship that was seized by the US in May, noting the asset could be used to pay off part of the family's $500 million judgment against the country.

In December, a federal judge awarded the Warmbier family more than half a billion dollars in a wrongful death suit against the North Korean government.


오토 웜비어 가족, 압류 북한 화물선 보상비 사용 소송 제기

     오토 웜비어의 부모는 5월에 미국이 압류한 북한 화물선에 대해 이 자산이 북한에 대한 가족들의 5억 달러의 판결 중 일부를 보상하는 데 사용될 수 있다고 주장하며 소송을 제기했다.

북한은 합의 논의에 전혀 관여하지 않았다.

프레드와 신디 웜비어는 성명을 통해 "우리는 아들 오토의 죽음에 대해 북한에 책임을 묻는데 전념하고 있으며, 북한 자산이 발견되는 곳이라면 어디든 북한 자산을 압류할 것"이라고 밝혔다.

압수한 선박은 중국 등 다른 나라에서 판매된 북한산 석탄을 운반하는 데 사용됐다고 법무부는 5월 밝혔다. 미국과 유엔은 북한이 북한의 핵무기와 탄도 미사일 프로그램에 자금을 대기 위해 석탄의 불법 판매를 사용했다고 말했다.

법무부의 국가안보실장 존 데머스 법무차관은 "제재 대상 선박은 이제 운항을 중단했다"고 말했다. "우리는 북한 정권에 최대한의 압력을 가해 북한의 호전성을 멈추게 하는 데 있어 법무부가 하는 역할에 깊이 헌신하고 있다."

와이즈 호네스트는 북한의 두 번째로 큰 상선이었으며 수만 톤의 화물을 실을 수 있었다. 검찰은 이 선박이 412,584kg의 '철판'을 포함한 중장비를 북한으로 운반하는 데도 사용되었다고 말했다.

오토 웜비어는 2016년 1월 은둔국가 관광 중 억류됐을 당시 버지니아대 학생이었습니다. 그는 1년 넘게 북한 정권에 억류됐다가 2017년 6월 미국으로 송환됐다.

그 후 22세의 웜비어는 식물인간 상태로 오하이오로 돌아왔다. 시각장애인, 청각장애인, 그리고 구금된 시간으로부터 심각한 뇌손상을 입었다. 트럼프 정부가 귀국을 확보한 지 며칠 만인 2017년 6월 19일 사망했다.

황기철 콘페이퍼 에디터 큐레이터

Ki Chul Hwang, conpaper editor, curator

edited by kcontents

North Korea never engaged in settlement discussions, according to the new filing, "Hence, the Warmbiers are left to chase down the assets of North Korea to recover what they can for the torture and death of their son at the hands of North Korea's dictator, who with "his cronies, show(s) no regard for human life.""

"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," Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement.

The seized ship was used to transport coal from North Korea that was sold in other countries, including China, the Justice Department said in May. The US and the United Nations have said that North Korea has used illicit sales of its coal to fund the country's nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program.

In a statement at the time, senior Justice Department officials called the seizure the first of its kind, and said it was part of the US campaign of "maximum pressure" against the North Korean government.

U.S. surveillance imagery allegedly showing the Wise Honest loading coal at Nampo, North Korea (file image)

edited by kcontents

"This sanctions-busting ship is now out of service," said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, the head of the Justice Department's National Security Division. "We are deeply committed to the role the Justice Department plays in applying maximum pressure to the North Korean regime to cease its belligerence."

The Wise Honest was North Korea's second largest merchant ship and was capable of carrying tens of thousands of tons of cargo. Prosecutors said the ship was also used to haul heavy machinery into North Korea, including 412,584 kilograms of "steel plate."

Otto Warmbier was a University of Virginia student when he was detained in January 2016 during a brief sightseeing tour of the reclusive state. He was held captive by the North Korean regime for over a year, before being released back to the US in June 2017.

Then 22 years old, Warmbier returned home to Ohio in a vegetative state -- blind, deaf, and having sustained severe brain damage from his time in detention. He died on June 19, 2017, days after the Trump administration had secured his return.

CNN's Rob Frehse, Anisa Husain and David Shortell contributed to this report


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