Otto Warmbier family files suit against North Korea

WASHINGTON — The parents of Otto Warmbier, the college student who died after he was tortured in a North Korean labor camp, filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court on Thursday alleging that North Korea violated international law.

Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, was forced to confess to an "act of subversion on behalf of the United States government," the lawsuit said, and was subsequently held in brutal conditions for a year and a half until he was returned to his parents in a coma. Warmbier died soon after he returned to the U.S.

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Otto Warmbier: A timeline of the student's North Korea imprisonment
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Otto Warmbier: A timeline of the student's North Korea imprisonment

January 2016: Warmbier is imprisoned in North Korea, charged with stealing an item that had a state propaganda slogan on it.

March 2016: Warmbier is sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea

March 2016 - 2017: The United States advocates for North Korea's allowing Sweden access to Warmbier and three other American citizens, pushing for their release.

January 2017: President Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, signaling a seat change in American foreign diplomacy.

February 2017: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefs President Trump on the situation surrounding Warmbier's imprisonment in North Korea.Trump directs Tillerson to take all appropriate measures in securing the release of U.S. hostages in North Korea.

May 2017:  The U.S. State Department and North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs hold a meeting in Oslo, Norway, during which they agree to the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang's access to all four detainees. Sweden is later granted these visitation rights, prompting North Korea to request a meeting with the United States.

June 6, 2017 - State Department Special Representative Joseph Yun meets with North Korean ambassador Pak Gil Yon at the United Nations in New York. Yun learns during this meeting that Warmbier has been in a coma for over a year.

June 6-11, 2017: Secretary of State Tillerson instructs Yun to travel to North Korea with the mission of bringing back Warmbier. They travel with a medical team to Pyongyang.

June 12, 2017: Through Yun, the United States is able for the first time to confirm Warmbier's status. The U.S. demands Warmbier be released on humanitarian conditions. North Korea complies.

June 13, 2017: Warmbier is evacuated from North Korea, travels to Ohio where he will reunite with his family.

June 13, 2017: Otto Warmbier arrives home to Cincinnati, Ohio
June 15, 2017: Otto Warmbier's father, Fred, speaks out during a press conference on his son's return home.
June 15, 2017: Doctors give updates on Warmbier's status during a news conference at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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The lawsuit could have large implications for U.S. diplomatic efforts as President Donald Trump prepares to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the hopes of denuclearizing the hostile country.

Upon filing, Fred Warmier said of his son's treatment in a statement: "Otto was taken hostage, kept as a prisoner for political purposes, used as a pawn and singled out for exceptionally harsh and brutal treatment by Kim Jong Un. Kim and his regime have portrayed themselves as innocent, while they intentionally destroyed our son's life. This lawsuit is another step in holding North Korea accountable for its barbaric treatment of Otto and our family."

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Otto Warmbier's tearful parents receive standing ovation during State of the Union
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Otto Warmbier's tearful parents receive standing ovation during State of the Union
American student Otto Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier cry as U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the death of their son after his arrest in North Korea during the State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
American student Otto Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier cry as U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the death of their son after his arrest in North Korea during the State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
American student Otto Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier cry as U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the death of their son Otto after his arrest in North Korea during the State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
American student Otto Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier cry as U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the death of their son Otto after his arrest in North Korea during the State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
American student Otto Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier applaud as U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the death of their son Otto after his arrest in North Korea during the State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
American student Otto Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier cry as U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the death of their son after his arrest in North Korea during the State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
American student Otto Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier cry as U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the death of their son after his arrest in North Korea during the State of the Union address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Cindy and Fred Warmbier react after being recognized by President Donald J. Trump during the State of the Union speech before members of Congress in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol on January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Fred and Cindy Warmbier are recognized during the State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 30, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Army Staff Sergeant Justin Peck sits with Fred and Cindy Warmbier during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 30: Parents of Otto Warmbier, Fred and Cindy Warmbier are acknowledged during the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives January 30, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the first State of the Union address given by U.S. President Donald Trump and his second joint-session address to Congress. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 30: Fred and Cindy Warmbier, the parents Otto Warmbier, who was jailed in North Korea and subsequently died, are recognized during President Donald Trump's State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber on January 30, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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