Mourners in OH remember USA student held prisoner by North Korea

Claudine Rigal
Juin 25, 2017

The girlfriend of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died this week just days after being released from a North Korean prison, paid tribute to him as an adventurous spirit who made her life "all the more lovely and worth living".

"The tragic murder of Otto Warmbier at the hands of the North Korean government has made it clear that it is past time that we restrict tourist travel to communist, totalitarian North Korea", Wilson said. North Korea claimed Warmbier's coma stemmed from a bout of botulism and that he was released on humanitarian grounds. His family and others have blamed North Korea for his condition.

Mr Warmbier was released earlier this month and returned to the U.S., where he was described as being in a "state of unresponsive wakefulness".

Sentenced to hard labor early previous year for stealing a political poster from a North Korean hotel, Warmbier was medically evacuated to the United States in a coma last week after almost 18 months in captivity.

KCNA says the North dealt with Warmbier according to domestic law and worldwide standards.

He was arrested in January 2016 at the airport in Pyongyang for allegedly trying to steal a propaganda poster while he was visiting North Korea on a sightseeing tour organized by a Chinese-based company.

US doctors who traveled to the North last week to bring Warmbier home recognized that the North had provided him with medical treatment, the spokesman said.

"Everything they say about Otto is very true". He now works as a private consultant for American families, using his contacts in North Korea to try to bring home detained loved ones.

The North Korean spokesman quoted by Reuters suggested the student had returned to the USA "in his normal state of health".

Warmbier was laid to rest in Wyoming, Ohio, on Thursday, June 22.

"China understands that the United States regards North Korea as our top security threat".

He said: "Today we received with deep sadness the news that Otto Warmbier has passed away".

"Although Warmbier was a criminal who committed a hostile act against the DPRK, we accepted the repeated requests of the present USA administration and, in consideration of his bad health, sent him back home on humanitarian grounds", the spokesman said.

The 22-year-old died on June 19, prompting a furious response from the United States government.

US President Donald Trump's administration worked to secure his return. According to his family's wishes, no autopsy was performed. North Korea accepted repeated requests from the present US administration, the spokesman said, and repatriated the student on humanitarian grounds "in consideration of his bad health".

Warmbier's treatment by the reclusive North Korean regime sparked strong condemnation in Washington, and inflamed already high tensions stoked by Pyongyang's atomic tests and missile launches.

North Korea called itself the "biggest victim" in the case.

"The North Korean regime is mistaken if it believes that its barbaric mistreatment of an American citizen held in depraved captivity for over a year will pass quietly", Sen.

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