Free American college student from North Korean Imprisonment!

  • by: Lacey Kohlmoos
  • recipient: Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence

North Korea has been detaining 21-year-old American college student Otto Warmbier for more than two months simply for trying to take a poster home as a souvenir. Add your name now to urge Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to negotiate his immediate release!

On January 2nd 2016, Otto was in the customs line with his tourist group when North Korean officials arrested him. He has been detained ever since. Otto was attempting to take home a banner with a political slogan - North Korea is calling this a “hostile act”. Months later, Otto appeared in a press conference where he was forced to apologize and say that the U.S. government manipulated him into taking the banner.

After a trial lasting just one hour, North Korea has sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard laborIt is an outrageously harsh sentence, especially considering that Otto is just a student from the University of Virginia who never meant to do North Korea any harm. He's just a nice guy who loves to play soccer and travel to out-of-the-way places whenever he gets a chance.

Otto's initial arrest came only four days before North Korea ostensibly tested their first H-bomb. His press conference happened when the UN was planning heightened sanctions for the State. This suspicious timing makes it seem like Otto is being used by North Korea as a political pawn. 

The US and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations. But James Clapper, the previous U.S. Director of National Intelligence successfully brought U.S. detainees home before, facilitated by Swedish diplomacy. The State Department has confirmed that Otto has been visited by a Swedish diplomat. And yet, he is not home with his family. Otto’s parents are pleading for their son to be released.

Please sign this petition to tell Dan Coats to bring Otto home now! An American college student should not have to spend 15 years of his life doing hard labor in a North Korean labor camp just because he tried to take a poster home as a souvenir. 

North Korea has been detaining 21-year-old American college student Otto Warmbier for more than two months simply for trying to take a poster home as a souvenir. 


On January 2nd 2016, Otto was in the customs line with his tourist group when North Korean officials arrested him. He has been detained ever since. Otto was attempting to take home a banner with a political slogan - North Korea is calling this a “hostile act”. Months later, Warmbier appeared in a press conference where he was forced to apologize and say that the U.S. government manipulated him into taking the banner.


After a trial lasting just one hour, North Korea has sentenced Otto to 15 years of hard laborIt is an outrageously harsh sentence, especially considering that Otto is just a student from the University of Virginia who never meant to do North Korea any harm. He's just a nice guy who loves to play soccer and travel to out-of-the-way places whenever he gets a chance.


Otto's initial arrest came only four days before North Korea ostensibly tested their first H-bomb. His press conference happened when the UN was planning heightened sanctions for the State. This suspicious timing makes it seem like Otto being used by North Korea as a political pawn. 


The US and North Korea do not have diplomatic relations. But former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper successfully brought U.S. detainees home, facilitated by Swedish diplomacy. The State Department has confirmed that Warmbier has been visited by a Swedish diplomat. And yet, he is not home with his family. Otto’s parents are pleading for their son to be released.


Please bring Otto home now! An American college student should not have to spend 15 years of his life doing hard labor in a North Korean labor camp just because he tried to take a poster home as a souvenir. 

Update #32 years ago
Otto has been held in North Korea for over a year now! The State Department is trying to get him released, but we must demand they try harder!
Update #23 years ago
Today (9/1/16) the US officially called for Otto to be released on humanitarian grounds. The US is asserting that North Korea is using Otto as a political pawn. Our petition is working - the US is getting more and more involved in Otto's release - we have to keep going. Share the petition widely!
Update #13 years ago
Good news: NBA agent David Sugarman, who helped facilitate the release of another American from North Korea is going to help Otto too. Be sure to use the hashtag #wewantwarmbier on twitter to get the topic trending and bring much-needed attention to Otto's unfair detention.

Click here for more info.
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