Otto Warmbier, a 21 year old student studying economics at the University of Virginia, made a major mistake. In North Korea of all places. Warmbier, who was part of a tour group, was accused of trying to steal a banner from the hotel he was staying at in January.

Because the U.S. does not have diplomatic relations with North Korea, Warmbier was represented by Swedish diplomats (who represent American interests) this week at his trial. He ultimately was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years of hard labor on Wednesday after a one-hour trial in the Supreme Court.

north korea.jpgA bit harsh don’t you think? “White House and U.S. State Department officials have urged the North Korean government to pardon and release a University of Virginia student being held there, saying his 15-year sentence in prison with hard labor for trying to steal a propaganda sign was unduly harsh and amounts to using the 21-year-old as a political pawn.”

Officials in the U.S. are working on negotiating for his release, but things are not looking good so far. How do you think this sticky situation will play out?