Warmbier was convicted and sentenced Wednesday in a one-hour trial. Prior to the court date, he made a media appearance in North Korea weeks before his trial, where he apologized for stealing a banner from a staff-only area of the hotel where he was staying.
Warmbier was arrested while visiting the country with Young Pioneer Tours, an agency specializing in travel to North Korea. The State Department warns against travel to the North. North Korea said he traveled to the country as a tourist but with the real aim of destroying the unity of North Korea with “the tacit connivance of the U.S. government.”
The North Korean government alleges Warmbier was encouraged to commit the “hostile act” by a purported member of an Ohio church, a secretive university organization and even the CIA. The tour company he traveled with said on its website it is aware of his sentencing.