USA student dies days after N Korea release

Pablo Tucker
June 20, 2017

U.S. Sen. John McCain - who was tortured as a POW in Vietnam - said the North Koreans "murdered" Otto Warmbier, the college kid who died in an OH hospital yesterday after falling into a coma as a prisoner in Kim Jong Un's gulag.

"At least he got home to his parents", the president said during an event with technology CEOs at the White House, speaking just hours after Warmbier died.

When he returned to the U.S. on June 13, he was "unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands", the family said at the time, but his expression soon changed. However, today they released a statement on their Facebook page declaring that they will "no longer be organizing tours for U.S. citizens to North Korea" as the risk has become too high.

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre said that while Warmbier had been breathing on his own, he was severely brain damaged and showed no awareness of his surroundings and made no "purposeful movements or behaviours".

American doctors who were treating Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, last week said he had suffered "severe neurological injury".

The North Koreans said Warmbier went into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill.

Otto Warmbier, a US citizen who was freed last week after more than a year in North Korean detention, has died. Warmbier passed away on June 19.

Otto Warmbier, 22, died at 2:20 p.m. (1820 GMT) surrounded by his family, his parents said in a statement released by the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He was home and we believe he could sense that. His medical condition was a surprise to USA officials and his family, who were told about it earlier this month.

Trump said in a statement on Monday that the United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as it mourns its latest victim.

Warmbier was sentenced in the DPRK back in March 2016 for "hostel acts against the state" after allegedly attempting to steal a propaganda poster from his hotel. It criticized the treatment when he was held in North Korea and thanked the US doctors who treated him, and mentioned how he was at peace when he died. The North Koreans claimed that he did this as part of an initiation ritual into a secret society, under the direction of the United States government. They say that there was no evidence of botulism. Washington had offered dialogue, but only on the condition that North Korea completely denuclearizes.

In the statement the Warmbier family thanks everyone in the community and around the world for keeping them in their thoughts and prayers.

Warmbier arrived in North Korea from Beijing as a tourist on December 25, 2015. But it certainly was not botulism, as the North Koreans said.

Human Rights Watch said Warmbier's death "after being abused in North Korean custody" proved the regime was willing to "brutalize and kill to maintain their hold on power".

The e-mail from Young Pioneer Tours finished with: "The way his detention was handled was appalling, and a tragedy like this must never be repeated".

Other reports by iNewsToday