SEOUL, March 13 (UPI) — North Korea has sent back a $500 million lawsuit to a U.S. District Court that ordered the Kim Jong Un regime to compensate the parents of Otto Warmbier for the student’s death in 2017.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia had issued a default judgment in December, ordering North Korea to pay $450 million in punitive damages to the estate of Warmbier and his parents. The remaining $50 million was to cover “pain and suffering,” economic losses and medical costs.
According to online records, the lawsuit was returned to the court by Wednesday, Voice of America reported.
The court documents, including a Korean-language translation, was sent from Washington, D.C., on Jan, 16, with stopovers at facilities in Baltimore, Ohio and Hong Kong, before reaching the North Korean capital. The lawsuit was addressed to North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho.
North Korea had rejected the suit following its delivery to the foreign ministry; Pyongyang has denied responsibility for Warmbier’s death.
Otto Warmbier was arrested in Pyongyang in January 2016. The former U.S. captive had fallen into a coma by 2017, and North Korea claimed Otto Warmbier had contracted botulism, a claim that is under dispute.
Parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier have indirectly criticized President Donald Trump for saying the North Korean leader was unaware of Warmbier’s condition before his death.
Trump’s remarks mobilized Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., to call for a bipartisan resolution that would hold Kim responsible for Warmbier’s death.
WKXW, a New Jersey radio station, reported last week Malinowski, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state for human rights, has agreed to not go forward with the resolution after the Warmbiers asked the bill not be pursued.
Trump has said he struggles with a “very, very delicate balance” between negotiations and being mindful of the Warmbiers.