North Korea to answer for sudden death of released student

Frederick Owens
June 20, 2017

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, convicted of subversion after he tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner. Warmbier, who serving a 15-year prison term for alleged anti-state acts in North Korea, was released to his home state of OH on Tuesday in a coma.

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.

"We're thrilled that our son is on american soil and I'm able to talk to you on otto's behalf and I'm able to wear the jacket that he wore when he gave his confession", said Warmbier's father.

He arrived in OH on June 13 after being held for more than 17 months.

They believe respiratory arrest led to his condition, which is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood in the brain.

The statement also mentioned that he had been unable to speak, react to verbal commands or see.

THOMPSON: So from Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who has been very close to the family, he says that Otto Warmbier was such a promising young man.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that the U.S. holds North Korea "accountable" for Warmbier's imprisonment, and demanded Pyongyang free three other Americans, all of them of Korean ancestry, now being held there. In his immediate reaction to the news, President Trump called North Korea a brutal regime that does not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.

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How did Otto Warmbier end up in a coma? And says his passing today is a loss for OH and for all of us.

"Considering these facts and this tragic outcome we will no longer be organising tours for United States citizens to North Korea".

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said Warmbier's death will be a lasting reminder of "the barbaric nature of the North Korean leadership".

THOMPSON: So a week prior to their son's landing, they learned that - at least, the official statement from North Korea was that he had contracted botulism and then, after taking a sleeping pill, fell into a coma.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who has helped free other Americans in North Korea, said he had met North Korean envoys 20 times during Mr Warmbier's incarceration and on no occasion was his health mentioned.

In their statement Monday, Otto's family said they believed the young man had found a peace of sorts after being flown home. Doctors said last week that he had suffered extensive brain damage and was unresponsive to his surroundings.

Trump's Cabinet describes North Korea as the biggest threat the U.S. faces. The US government accuses Pyongyang of using such detainees as political pawns.

Mr Trump was criticised in May when he said he would be "honoured" to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the "appropriate" time.

Other reports by LeisureTravelAid

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