UVA student convicted in N. Korea, sentenced to 15 years hard labor

SEOUL (WWBT) - The University of Virginia student detained in North Korea was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison on Wednesday morning.

Otto Warmbier, a 21-year old undergraduate from Cincinnati, Ohio, was convicted of attempting to steal a propaganda banner at the hotel he was staying, while on vacation in Pyongyang. He reportedly wanted the sign as "a trophy" for a friend's mother.

The highest court charged him with subversion during a one-hour trial.

Swedish Embassy diplomats in Pyongyang representing American interests were present at the trial but declined to give further details.

"Sorry, we never comment on individual consular cases or any legal proceedings," said Swedish Ambassador Torkel Siernlof.

Warmbier was visiting the communist state as part of a tourist group arranged by Young Pioneer Tours, a tour agency based in Xian, China. He was arrested at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport on the last day of a five-day tour on Jan. 2.

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