Wearing the coat his son wore when he offered his confession last year, Mr. Fred Warmbier spoke out on his son Otto, who had been held in North Korea for months before being released this past week. Otto was taken hostage by the regime for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.
Warmbier thanked those who had offered their prayers. He also had special gratitude for Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), who stood by their side during the ordeal, as well as President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who worked hard to bring Otto home.
Mr. Warmbier then shared his thoughts on the North Korean regime, who treated his son as a war criminal.
“He fought to stay alive through the worst the North Koreans put him through,” Mr. Warmbier said.
He and his wife Cindy were angered he was so “brutally treated for so long.” Fifteen months had gone by without them hearing a word from Otto. It wasn’t until a week ago the North Korean regime told them he was in a coma for almost all of that time. Mr. Warmbier denied the regime’s claim about how his son got botulism.
There is “no excuse for a civilized nation to keep his condition a secret,” he said.
Warmbier also saved some criticism for the Obama administration. The last White House, he said, advised them to take a “low profile” while they worked to obtain Otto’s release because doing otherwise would “upset the North Koreans.”
However, it wasn’t long before the Warmbiers released that strategy was not working.
“The time for strategic patience was over,” he said, as he and his wife began to grant media interviews.
One reporter followed up on this point, asking if the past administration could have done more to secure Otto’s release.
“The results speak for themselves,” Warmbier said.
Otto is currently being treated in the University of Cincinnati Medical Center “receiving the care he’s been denied for so long,” the grieving father added.
The hospital staff will be updating the media on Otto’s condition later today.
Mr. Warmbier called on North Korea to release the other three hostages.