A 21 year old University of Virginia student has been detained in North Korea for nearly two months, after planning a trip there over New Years. He finally held a news conference on Monday morning “at his own request,” so he could apologize for “the worst mistake of [his] life” and say how he has been “very impressed by the Korean government’s humanitarian treatment of severe criminals like [himself] and of their very fair and square legal procedures in the DPR Korea.”
Yeah, that definitely sounds like something he said at his own request…
So, what was his crime? Per CNN:
Warmbier is accused of trying to steal a North Korean banner, containing a political slogan that was hanging from the walls of his Pyongyang hotel.
A North Korean official with direct knowledge of Warmbier’s case says the 21-year-old held a news conference “at his own request” Monday morning at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang.
The event provided insight into the bizarre charges he is facing in the secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or DPRK, including allegations that he was encouraged to commit the “hostile act” by a purported member of an Ohio church, a secretive university organization and even the CIA.
So yeah, he tried to steal a banner from his hotel, probably thinking it would look cool in his dorm room… and not on behalf of the CIA. Admittedly what he did was a really dumb thing to do in a country like North Korea, but still.
Here’s the news conference in which he apologizes:
Let’s hope he gets released soon and doesn’t face the “typical” North Korean punishment. At least he’ll be able to enjoy the world’s best airport terminal, which North Korea opened last year…
(Tip of the hat to Kalil)