Washington: US student Otto Warmbier has been given 15 years hard labour in North Korea for crimes against the state.
Warmbier, 21, was arrested for trying to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel while visiting North Korea in January.
He later appeared on state TV apparently confessing and saying a church group had asked him to bring back a “trophy” from his trip.
Stephen Evans from Th BBC in South Korea said “The 15-year sentence is high compared to those given to foreigners in the past.This could be due to the particularly high tensions at the moment between North Korea and the US.”
Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, was arrested on 2 January as he was trying to leave North Korea.
With teras in eyes at a press conference in Pyongyang, he said he had “committed the crime of taking down a political slogan from the staff holding area of the Yanggakdo International Hotel”.
“The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people. This was a very foolish aim,” he was quoted as saying. He said it was the “worst mistake” of his life.