Despite the propaganda machine's best efforts, horrifying details about what it's like to be imprisoned in North Korea have come to light. And it's not only North Koreans attempting to flee the oppressive Kim regime and its scary military that are imprisoned; American and Canadian tourists have been detained while visiting the country and sentenced to years of hard labor, too. Accounts of life within the confines of these appalling camps have been shared by former prisoners and prison guards alike, but those terrifying anecdotes come from those lucky enough to have made it out.
One of the most famous US citizens held in North Korea was Otto Warmbier. In March 2016, the 21-year-old student was sentenced to 15 years in prison for attempting to steal a propaganda sign. The economics major was visiting North Korea as part of a tour group in January 2016, and was convicted and sentenced to his punishment in just one hour. After about a year-and-a-half of imprisonment, Warmbier was released to his family in 2017. He had apparently been in a coma for over a year, and he died days later.
It appears an American tourist could be convicted on a whim, regardless of their occupation or opinion on the Kim regime. Tragically, Warmbier was just one of the many Americans who disappeared in North Korea.