Otto Frederick Warmbier, who was arrested two months ago made a public appearance for the first time on Monday morning since his arrest after his parents were worried sick that he was no longer alive.
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.
The parents of Warmbier, are “greatly relieved’ now that they’ve seen pictures of him for the first time in nearly two months.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement released Monday,
“We had not heard from him during these many weeks, so you can imagine how deeply worried we were and what a traumatic experience this has been for us.”
“He seems to be in good health, although we won’t know for sure about his condition until we have a chance to speak with him.”
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.
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.”
Warmbier allegedly confessed to the crime he is being accused of, but it isn’t yet known if he confessed willingly or being forced by the DPRK to make the confession.
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— CNN International (@cnni) February 29, 2016
Source: CNN International