SEOUL– North Korea has sent back a U.S. court verdict ordering the communist nation to pay US$500 million in damages to the parents of an American student for his death shortly after his return from the country in a coma, a news report said Tuesday.

The U.S. District Court for D.C. made the ruling last month, saying Pyongyang was responsible for the death of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who died in 2017 just six days after his return from the North.

According to a Voice of America report, the verdict sent to the North’s foreign ministry via DHL courier service earlier this month arrived in Pyongyang on Friday but was immediately “returned to shipper” as DHL tried to deliver it to the ministry on Monday.

The mail, addressed to Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, included the ruling on the case and the judge’s written opinion, as well as the documents translated into Korean, it said.

Warmbier had been held in the North for 17 months after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from his hotel during a trip to Pyongyang in early 2015. The North has denied any responsibility for his death.

Warmbier’s parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, filed the suit seeking compensation worth about $1.1 billion. The court ordered North Korea to compensate his parents for damages for pain and suffering and medical expenses.

Source: Yonhap News Agency