DMA President Joseph DeTrani was on CNN providing insight into the confession of an American student detained in North Korea. Watch video here.
U.S. student detained in North Korea confesses to ‘hostile act’ (CNN)
By Will Ripley
North Korea has allowed the world to get its first glimpse of Otto Frederick Warmbier, an American student at the University of Virginia, two months after his arrest.
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 press conference “at his own request” on Monday morning at the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang.
The event provided insight into the bizarre charges the 21-year old is facing in the secretive Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), including allegations he was encouraged to commit the “hostile act” by a purported member of an Ohio church, a secretive university organization, and even the CIA.
The U.S. State Department said it was aware of media reports the U.S. citizen was detained in North Korea but declined to comment further “due to privacy considerations.”
New details of alleged ‘hostile act’
In a video supplied to CNN, North Korean guards escorted Warmbier into the room. He was not restrained, and was wearing dark trousers, a light-colored blazer, shirt and tie.
Appearing to read from a statement, Warmbier said: “I committed the crime of taking down a political slogan from the staff holding area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel.” It is not known if the student was forced by the DPRK to speak, or whether he was coerced.
“I apologize to each and every one of the millions of the Korean people and I beg that you see how I was used and manipulated,” Warmbier said. “My reward for my crime was so much smaller than the rewards that the Z Society and the Friendship United Methodist Church get from the United States Administration.”
Warmbier is also seen in the video sobbing and pleading for forgiveness, and bowing deeply to apologize.
“I never, never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to commit a crime in this country. I wish that the United States administration never manipulate people like myself in the future to commit crimes against foreign countries. I entirely beg you, the people and government of the DPRK, for your forgiveness. Please! I made the worst mistake of my life!” . . . (read more)
The strange ways North Korea makes detainees confess on camera (Washington Post)
The Westerners who find themselves detained in North Korea — and there have been a fair few of them in recent years — invariably end up in front of television cameras making full-throated confessions.
American Otto Warmbier is the latest citizen of a Western country to appear before the North Korean press, reading a prepared statement Monday in which he confessed to the “severe crime” of trying to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel.
North Korea has a history of using American detainees as bargaining chips with the United States, its avowed enemy.
These are some of the previous cases of strange confessions by detained Americans – which have been explained after their release. . . . (read more)