Fred and Cindy Warmbier

Fred and Cindy Warmbier

Fred and Cindy Warmbier are the parents-turned-activists of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was arrested and imprisoned in North Korea. In January 2016, then 21-year-old Otto traveled to North Korea with a guided tour group. While there, he allegedly attempted to steal a propaganda banner. That March, Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in a televised trial deemed “outrageous and shocking” by the Human Rights Watch. He then spoke in what appeared to be a forced confession. Warmbier had been detained for a total of 17 months, when, in June 2017, he was sent home to the United States in a state of unresponsive wakefulness. He died one week after returning home. Fred and Cindy Warmbier have since channeled their grief into activism against the Kim regime, and against American tolerance of North Korea. In Fred’s words, “The Kim family chose to do this, they used Otto as a pawn, a hostage, and they did this in front of the world…if they’ll do this to Otto, imagine what they’ll do to the rest of the world and their own citizens.”