Advertisement

Otto Warmbier’s parents dispute Trump, say ‘Kim and his evil regime are responsible’ for son’s death

Click to play video 'Otto Warmbier’s family dispute Trump’s comments at U.S.-NK summit' Otto Warmbier’s family dispute Trump’s comments at U.S.-NK summit
WATCH: Otto Warmbier's family dispute Trump's comments at U.S.-NK summit – Mar 1, 2019

The family of an American college student who died after being imprisoned in North Korea spoke out a day after U.S. President Donald Trump said he takes Kim Jong Un’s word that he didn’t know about the mistreatment of their son.

In December 2015, Otto Warmbier, who was 21 at the time, was arrested in North Korea during an organized tour and charged with stealing a propaganda poster. He spent more than a year in jail on a 15-year sentence for hard labour before being sent back to his parents in July 2017.

READ MORE: ‘I will take him at his word’: Trump says Kim Jong Un unaware of Otto Warmbier’s death

Warmbier, who his family says was “brutally tortured” while in prison, was in a coma when he arrived back in the U.S. and died a few days later.

Story continues below advertisement

In a statement, his parents said they were “respectful during this summit process” but felt compelled to speak out following Trump’s statements.

“Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. Kim and his evil regime are responsible for unimaginable cruelty and inhumanity. No excuses or lavish praise can change that.”

WATCH: Donald Trump defends Kim Jong Un over handling of Otto Warmbier case

Click to play video 'Donald Trump defends Kim Jong Un over handling of Otto Warmbier case' Donald Trump defends Kim Jong Un over handling of Otto Warmbier case
Donald Trump defends Kim Jong Un over handling of Otto Warmbier case – Feb 28, 2019

After Warmbier’s death in 2017, Trump said he promised to “handle” North Korea.

During Trump’s 2018 State of the Union, he said Warmbier’s parents were “powerful witnesses” to North Korea’s horrors.

But speaking in Vietnam on Thursday, after his summit with Kim fell apart, Trump said he spoke with Kim about Warmbier’s death and the North Korean leader feels “badly about it.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: They said North Korea tortured and killed their son. Now they’re seeking over $1 billion: lawsuit

He said he does not hold the North Korea leader responsible for Warmbier’s death, adding he “does not believe he [Kim] would have allowed that to happen.”

“I don’t believe he knew about it,” Trump said. “He tells me that he didn’t know about it and I will take him at his word. It just wasn’t to his advantage to allow that to happen. Prisons are rough, they’re rough places, and bad things happened.”

WATCH: John Bolton calls for ‘full explanation’ of Otto Warmbier case from North Korea

Click to play video 'John Bolton calls for ‘full explanation’ of Otto Warmbier case from North Korea' John Bolton calls for ‘full explanation’ of Otto Warmbier case from North Korea
John Bolton calls for ‘full explanation’ of Otto Warmbier case from North Korea – Mar 3, 2019

Trump followed up on his comment via Twitter on Friday, saying that he never likes “being misinterpreted, but especially when it comes to Otto Warmbier and his great family.”

Story continues below advertisement

“Remember, I got Otto out along with three others,” Trump wrote. “The previous Administration did nothing, and he was taken on their watch. Of course I hold North Korea responsible for Otto’s mistreatment and death.”