North Korea: American's 'Confession' To 'Severe Crime' Full Of Comedy Gold (VIDEO)

North Korea: American’s ‘Confession’ To ‘Severe Crime’ Full Of Comedy Gold (VIDEO)

US student is forced to confess to a crime in North Korea

US student Otto Warmbier recently appeared on North Korean state media forced to admit he tried to steal an item bearing state propaganda from his hotel in North Korea. This was Warmbier’s first appearance since his arrest on January 2nd, while he was traveling in North Korea as a tourist. Warmbier is a 21-year-old student at University of Virginia; at the time of his arrest, the North Korean government said that the US had manipulated Warmbier and incited him to “commit a hostile act.”

At the news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea’s KCNA news agency quoted the accused saying that the Friendship United Methodist Church in Wyoming, Ohio had promised him a used car worth $10,000 if he stole a propaganda sign from his trip, and that the same church would pay his mother $200,000 if he was detained. And according to Al-Jazeera,

“Warmbier said that he accepted the offer because his family was “suffering from very severe financial difficulties… ‘I started to consider this as my only golden opportunity to earn money.”

Right. He stole a poster. In North Korea. Because his family is poor. These allegations have, SHOCKINGLY!, been rejected by the senior pastor at Friendship United Methodist Church. In addition, his ‘confession’ not only seemed very rehearsed but also terribly acted. The Guardian reported Warmbier said his crime

“aimed at harming the work ethic and the motivation of the Korean people.”

According to the BBC, Warmbier admitted his crime

“was ‘very severe and pre-planned’ and that he ‘never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to commit a crime in this country.”

However, it is obvious that the hilarious statement forced on him. This would not be the first time that something similar happened to a foreign detainee in North Korea, where the regime tends to arrest foreigners as a way of putting pressure on Western countries, especially the US. Warmbier may have learned his lesson not to commit the alleged ‘severe crime’ of yanking a North Korean propaganda poster, but the confession sounds highly forced. There are words that are clearly not his own, and don’t even sound like they were written by an American English-speaker. The statements are absurdly strongly pro-regime,

“I have been very impressed by the Korean government’s humanitarian treatment of severe criminals like myself, and of their very fair and square legal procedures in the DPR Korea… I am begging to the Korean people and government for my forgiveness and I am praying to the heavens so that I may be returned home to my family.”

The White House said in a statement it was not aware of Warmbier’s situation and is working to help him through Sweden, one of the only Western countries with a diplomatic mission in North Korea.

Warmbier’s sudden public appearance happens just after the US has been working with the UN Security Council to impose stronger sanctions on the Hermit Kingdom as a result of North Korea’s nuclear tests and a long-range rocket launch. This new set of sanctions is currently under debate in the UN.

North Korea tends to accuse Washington and other countries of sending spies inside the country to overthrow its government and to help South Korean goals. In previous cases, foreigners and even defected Koreans who have been arrested and given a public confession often admit afterwards that those confessions were forced on them.  Forced confessions flow from an obvious commitment to humanitarian treatment.

[brid video=”29031″ player=”5260″ title=”US student Otto Warmbier held in North Korea confesses to ‘ crime'”]

Featured image via Euronews (in English) video screengrab.

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From Mexico City, Carolina has lived in five different countries, experiences she defines as the most enriching. She has focused her studies and work on international conflicts and international security issues, diplomacy and protocol. Carolina holds two MA degrees and hopes to begin her PhD studies soon.