Family of Otto Warmbier seeks $1 billion from North Korea in wrongful death suit

The family of Otto Warmbier on Wednesday said they are suing North Korea to “stand up to evil” in the wrongful death of their son.

Warmbier was held in detention in North Korea for more than a year and died days after returning to the states in June 2017.


The family filed a wrongful death suit against the rogue nation and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime in April and appeared in court Wednesday for the first hearing.

"I'm going to stand up to evil when I see it. There's nothing more evil than North Korea," Cindy Warmbier, Otto's mother, told the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to CNN.

The family is suing the North Korean government for more than $1 billion because they want “closure” and to “obtain justice for the severe injuries” they say Otto suffered and the family was forced to endure.

"We are not going to be the victims. I want them to feel victimized," Cindy Warmbier said.

Each of Otto’s immediate family members spoke in court Wednesday, including his two siblings.

"I want to be here because we need closure," Otto's younger sister, Greta, said at the hearing.

Otto was apprehended in North Korea while touring the country in 2016. North Korean officials claim Otto stole a painting off the wall from the hotel he was staying at while visiting. The Warmbier’s allege Otto was tortured and beaten and held as a prisoner for political purposes.

A coroner ruled that Warmbier, 22, died from a lack of blood and oxygen to his brain due to an unknown injury he sustained more than a year earlier while being held in North Korea.

"We're here because we don't fear North Korea anymore. They're cowards. They've done the worst they could do. This is the work of a coward," Otto’s father Fred Warmbier said.

The Warmbier family is seeking $1.05 billion in punitive damages and $46 million in compensation for the family’s suffering, according to the motion filed in court.

As Americans, the Warmbiers are able to sue another country under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.