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Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who has been detained in North Korea since early January, attends a news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo February 29, 2016. Warmbier was detained for trying to steal a propaganda slogan from his Pyongyang hotel and has confessed to "severe crimes" against the state, the North's official media said on Monday. Warmbier, 21, was detained before boarding his flight to China over an unspecified incident at his hotel, his tour agency told Reuters in January. Mandatory credit REUTERS/Kyodo ATTENTION EDITORS - FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. - RTS8H5O

Parents sue North Korea over death of U.S. detainee Otto Warmbier

WASHINGTON — The parents of U.S. college student Otto Warmbier have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against North Korea, saying its government tortured and killed their son.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for the death of Otto Warmbier, who was arrested by North Korean authorities in January 2016 for stealing a propaganda poster and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He died in June 2017, days after he was repatriated to the U.S. with severe brain damage.

Fred Warmbier said in a statement that his son “was taken hostage, kept as a prisoner for political purposes, used as a pawn and singled out for exceptionally harsh and brutal treatment by Kim Jong Un.”

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