Doctors say US student freed by North Korea has brain damage

Claudine Rigal
Juin 16, 2017

The university student had been on a tourist trip when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years hard labor, a punishment the USA decried as far out of proportion to his alleged crime, accusing the North of using him as a political pawn.

He spoke at Wyoming High School, where Mr Warmbier graduated in 2013.

One of Obama's advisers, Ned Price, said the Obama administration had "no higher priority" than securing the release of Americans detained overseas but North Korea's isolation "posed unique challenges".

Asked whether he thought the previous administration could have done more, Fred Warmbier replied: "I think the results speak for themselves".

"Under a decision by the DPRK Central Court of June 13, American citizen Otto Warmbier who was serving a sentence of labor was returned on June 13 on humanitarian grounds", The North's KCNA news stations said as reported by Reuters. He said Obama "worked through every avenue available" to try to secure Warmbier's release. Warmbier said the family was "extremely grateful for their efforts and concern". Warmbier arrived in OH after be.

Warmbier's release came as former US basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Tuesday, returning to the nuclear-armed country where he met leader Kim Jong Un on previous visits.

The father of Otto Warmbier, the United States student released from North Korean detention this week, lashed out on Thursday at the reclusive regime, saying he did not believe its explanation for how his son fell into a coma.

The doctors described Otto Warmbier, 22, as being in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" but declined to discuss his outlook for improvement, saying such information would be kept confidential.

They say he doesn't show any consistent response to stimulation, shows no sign of understanding language, responding to commands or awareness of his environment.

"He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking", said Dr Daniel Kanter, director of neurocritical care for the University of Cincinnati Health system.

Mr Warmbier is in stable condition at the UC Medical Centre, where he was taken immediately after his arrival in OH on Tuesday after more than 17 months in North Korean captivity. The reclusive country accused the University of Virginia student of anti-state activities. White calls him a "curious boy" and says his adventurous nature led him to travel extensively during summers.

Right now there are no answers on what happened to Warmbier during his detention in North Korea. He was returned to Cincinnati Tuesday and is in stable condition.

Doctors plan a news conference on campus later Thursday.

While wearing the same jacket his son Otto Warmbier wore during his North Korean trial which ended with him sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, Fred Warmbier expressed frustration at a press conference Thursday towards Obama administration's perceived lack of progress on returning his son home.

The family feels "relief that Otto is now home in the arms of those who love him and anger that he was so brutally treated for so long", his father said.

Fred Warmbier (WORM'-bir) told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday that his son, Otto, was "terrorized and brutalized" during his 17-month detention and has been in a coma for more than a year. Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old college student detained and imprisoned in North Korea, is carried off of an airplane at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. He was then taken by ambulance to a hospital.

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