North Korea frees US prisoner Otto Warmbier 'in a coma'

North Korea frees US prisoner Otto Warmbier 'in a coma'

He was convicted in a one-hour trial and sentenced last March.

Now, Warmbier's family has been told he suffered a bout of deadly botulism poisoning in March, took a sleeping pill and has been in a coma ever since.

According to reports, the former University of Virginia student has been in a coma for over one year. "At the moment, we're just treating this like he's been in an accident.

The Department of State continues to have discussions with the DPRK regarding three other USA citizens reported detained".

Past year I wrote about the sad situation college student Otto Warmbier found himself in after trying to take a political banner hanging in his hotel in North Korea.

He said Mr Warmbier, 22, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was en route to the USA, where he will be reunited with his family. "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him." they added. He's being medically evacuated back to his Cincinnati home.

The news of Otto Warmbier's return to the US after serving part of a 15-year prison term in North Korea is hitting close to home for one Moraine man who was detained in North Korea for months.

At the time, North Korea claimed Mr Warmbier committed an anti-state crime with "the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation".

He gave a televised confession a month later, in which he said he had tried to take the sign as a "trophy" for a U.S. church, adding "the aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people". His release brought to three the number of Americans held in the North.

- In 2009, North Korea detained two American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, for illegally crossing the border.

The State Department announced Warmbier's release earlier Tuesday but gave no details on his condition.

"The Department of State continues to have discussions with the DPRK regarding three other USA citizens reported detained", the statement said.

At a press conference before his trial, a sobbing Warmbier said he had made "the worst mistake of my life" and pleaded to be released.

American Kenneth Bae credits Rodman's unconventional relationship with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un for helping pave the way for his November 2014 release from his own 15-year prison sentence there.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not mention Rodman in a statement released Tuesday morning. Those three are South Korean-born businessman Kim Dong Chul, professor Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-Song, who worked at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology.

The North has occasionally jailed United States citizens and released them only after visits by high-profile political figures including former president Bill Clinton.

Since taking office in January, U.S. President Donald Trump has faced a growing national security challenge from North Korea, which has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of U.S. and worldwide sanctions.

Mr. Warmbier had employed the services of a Chinese-based tour company to visit the country in December 2015. He told CNN he was president of a trade and hotel services company in Rason, North Korea. Miller was serving six years on an espionage charge after North Korea accused him of wanting to secretly investigate its prison system.

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