Imprisoned American Student Leaves North Korea in Coma

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2017

The parents of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student who is in a coma after being freed this week by North Korea, say he was "brutalised" by a "pariah regime".

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labor for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel in North Korea in January 2016.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime", his parents, Fred and Cindy, said.

Warmbier said before his trial that he tried to steal the propaganda poster as a trophy for an acquaintance, who offered him a used auto worth $13,200 in exchange for the item. On this trip, he has already been roundly criticized by some for visiting during a time of high tensions between the US and North Korea over its weapons programs and recent missile launches.

"We're absolutely thrilled. There are many happy people tonight in Wyoming", Wyoming City Council member Jenni McCauley said. He was carried off the plane and taken to a hospital. Two mobile intensive care units arrived at the private terminal where his family was awaiting his arrival, and drove onto the tarmac when the plane landed.

Three other US citizens are being detained in North Korea, at a time when Kim Jong Un has been firing missiles and threatening to strike the United States.

Yun was instructed to prepare to travel to Pyongyang with the intention of bringing Warmbier back to the United States.

On the release of Warmbir said Tuesday, June 13, U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson.

Rodman, who endorsed presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign and appeared twice as a contestant on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" TV show, said his latest visit was merely created to visit old friends and to "have a good time".

The 22-year-old student from suburban Cincinnati was supposed to graduate from the University of Virginia in May.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 for subversion. He was convicted in March 2016 and sentenced to 10 years hard labor, about a week after Warmbier's conviction - both sentences were handed down shortly after the USA had levied steeper sanctions against North Korea in response to missile testing.

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He had not been seen in public since.

Three U.S. nationals are still being held in the DPRK following Warmbier's release.

The North Korean side claimed they were detaining him because he had been teaching unauthorized material and engaging in inappropriate activities, Leigh told RFA.

Trump was immediately informed and ordered Otto's medical evacuation, with the agreement of the North Koreans, according to people with knowledge of the process.

Richardson said his center in Sante Fe, N.M. received a call Tuesday from the Warmbiers with an update on their son's condition.

The logistics were in place by Thursday.

He was given a sleeping pill after becoming ill after his trial a year ago and did not wake up, North Korea said.

China welcomed former basketball star Dennis Rodman's visit to North Korea Wednesday, saying it supports efforts to build ties between Washington and Pyongyang. Yun then met last week with the North Korean ambassador at the United Nations in NY, where Yun learned about Warmbier's condition.

Yun arrived in Pyongyang early Monday with two American physicians.

State Department officials are accompanying Warmbier from Sapporo to Cincinnati. Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been high since Donald Trump took office in January 2017.

Although Washington and Pyongyang have no official diplomatic relations, the US State Department's special envoy to North Korea, Joseph Yun made a visit to the hermit kingdom and demanded the release of Warmbier on what he cited as "humanitarian grounds".

Other reports by GizPress

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