An organization known for working to release prisoners and hostages sent a humanitarian mission to North Korea last month, which advocated for the release of university student Otto Warmbier.
Warmbier is entering his 10th month of detainment in North Korea, after he was arrested in January for allegedly attempting to steal a political banner from the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang while staying there as a tourist. The North Korean Supreme Court sentenced Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor in March.
The banner which read “Let’s firmly arm ourselves with Kim Jong-il patriotism!” is considered sacrosanct in the DPRK because of its association with the country’s ruling regime. Kim Jong-il was the father of North Korea’s current Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un.
Warmbier was on a tour with a company called Young Pioneer Tours when the alleged incident occurred.
The Richardson Center for Global Engagement — named after former New Mexico governor and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Bill Richardson — sponsored a humanitarian mission to North Korea from Sept. 24-27. Richardson Center Senior Advisor Mickey Bergman led the group, which met with senior North Korean officials, as well as Swedish Ambassador to the DPRK Torkel Stiernlöf.
[The Cavalier Daily]