Judge Orders North Korea To Pay Otto Warmbier's Family $500 Million

​The judge's award is almost half of what Warmbier's parents initially requested when they filed the motion back in October.
Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 24, 2018

A federal judge has ordered North Korea to pay the family of Otto Warmbier a little more than $500 million in relation to his imprisonment in 2016 and subsequent death.

The judge awarded Otto Warmbier's estate more than $170 million Monday in punitive and compensatory damages. The judge also awarded Warmbier's parents $330 million in similar damages.

Warmbier was arrested in North Korea in 2016 for trying to steal a propaganda sign, and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison. He was released and returned to the U.S. in June 2017, but was in a coma and had suffered major brain damage. He died a few days later.

Warmbier's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against North Korea, saying the country "brutally tortured and murdered" their son. North Korea has denied torturing Warmbier, saying he fell ill shortly after his conviction.

The judge's award is almost half of what Warmbier's parents initially requested when they filed the motion back in October. 

It's still unclear, though, how the Warmbiers will actually get compensated from North Korea. However, the money could come from a fund created by Congress for victims of state-sponsored terrorism. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, a similar case involving North Korea in 2015 resulted in the victim's family receiving only a portion of their award through the U.S. Victims of State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN