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Liberal magazine defends North Korea after American student Otto Warmbier’s death

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Friends and supporters of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student who was released from a North Korean prison last week, gather together to show their support for the Warmbier family on Thursday in Wyoming, Ohio. Otto Warmbier spent 17 months in a North Korean prison after being sentenced to 15 years for allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster. Warmbier died Monday. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

A liberal magazine took to Twitter on Monday to defend North Korea after the death of American student Otto Warmbier.

North Korean state-run media said last year that Warmbier, who was then a student at the University of Virginia, was arrested for what they called “a hostile act” against the Kim Jong Un regime.

Warmbier, 22, was arrested and then sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. He reportedly fell into a coma shortly after his arrest. He was abruptly released by North Korea last week and died on Monday afternoon.

The “hostile act” Warmbier allegedly committed was attempting to remove a propaganda banner from the hotel where he was staying.

On Monday, The Washington Post’s Josh Rogin tweeted a link to an interview he did with Warmbier’s roommate. In the tweet, Rogin called Warmbier “an innocent kid tortured by an evil regime.”

In a tweet, Affinity Magazine objected to Rogin’s characterization, dismissing it as “whiteness”:

Image source: Twitter screenshot

The magazine wrote that Warmbier “wasn't a ‘kid’ or ‘innocent.’"

“[Y]ou can't go to another country and try to steal from them,” the tweet said. “Respect their laws.”

Twitter users called the magazine's argument “callous.”

In the face of criticism for defending North Korea, the magazine deleted its initial tweet. But tweets in which the magazine reiterated its position remain on Twitter:

Affinity Magazine says in its Twitter profile that they cover social justice, politics, and culture "from the teen perspective."

"Written by teens for teens," it adds. "Always controversial."

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