American student released from North Korea prison arrives in US

Solenn Plantier
Juin 20, 2017

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years hard labor in 2016 for allegedly committing "hostile acts" against the North Korean regime.

"Otto has left North Korea".

The parents of the 22-year old American college student freed by North Korea say he is in a coma and is on a Medivac flight on his way home.

Our sympathies go out to Otto Warmbier and his family. "We'll be relieved to have him home and are looking forward to surrounding him with people who love him".

"I hope there will be a political decision soon to restore dialogue through practical steps and resolve relevant issues through dialogue and negotiations so we can make constructive efforts together", he said.

Warmbier was arrested in Pyongyang in January 2016, while visiting the country on a group tour.

During a government-arranged news conference in Pyongyang, which was held a month before the ruling was handed down, a tearful Warmbier pleaded for his release, saying he stole the banner because a member of his church offered to buy him a used vehicle in exchange.

In May, Yun met with met high-level representatives from the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, Norway, and the North Koreans agreed that the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang would be authorized to pay a consular visit to all four detainees.

Tillerson told USA senators at the start of a budget hearing that the State Department had no comment on Warmbier's condition "out of respect for him and his family".

The three other Americans detained by North Korea remain there.

State Department officials said Warmbier's release followed secret talks between US and North Korean diplomats.

State Department officials said Warmbier's release followed secret talks between US and North Korean diplomats. "We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime", Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in their statement. The brutalization and terrorism the North Koreans have put upon Otto and the Warmbier family have ended.

This, according to my colleagues' reporting, was followed by an urgent meeting between North Korean and State Department officials to organize Warmbier's release on humanitarian grounds.

"In no uncertain terms North Korea must explain the causes of his coma", veteran former diplomat Bill Richardson said in a statement after speaking to Warmbier's parents.

The BBC's Stephen Evans in Seoul says it remains to be seen if Mr Warmbier's illness is the direct result of brutality in prison.

North Korea still has at least three Americans in illegal custody, no doubt enduring horrific conditions in violation of all norms of human decency. He is looking to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea, with help from China, but has said he's open to meeting Kim. He was sentenced to 15 years hard labor following a brief one hour trial and, despite pleas from American State Department officials that his sentence was "unduly harsh".

Imprisoned in North Korea are three of a USA citizen.

That does not mean that there is no role for Mr. Rodman to play in helping to improve communications between his friend Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump.

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said "North Korea's despicable actions in detaining and holding Otto were unacceptable and must be condemned".

The 56-year-old NBA Hall of Famer, who was heavily criticized for failing to raise the plight of a jailed U.S. missionary on a previous trip, said discussing detained U.S. citizens was "not my goal right now".

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