In Fred Warmbier’s case he actually did tear down a NoKo propaganda poster–although you would think that would result in a fine or getting booted early from the country. Louis Zamperini got caught taking a Nazi flag at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and got way less–although had it been Jesse Owens or a Jewish athlete they likely would have been way harsher.
Jack Montague’s case is even more insane (in its own star chamber Title IX sort of way). He is the star caption of the Yale basketball team and got booted after an girl friend complained about something that happened 15 months earlier. Apparently the charges were pursued by some Yale administrator (who does not like men). They did not give him hard labor, but they did boot him from Yale. This sort of thing is not limited to just Yale.
EBL: Yale Alumnus Bill Clinton gives some advice to Jack Montague, #FreeStacy: The science is settled, (linked via Wombat) I kissed a girl (and I got expelled), Politics are downstream of culture, American College Campus Culture of Fear (at most universities, women are more dangerous than shotguns)