US college student released by North Korea arrives in Ohio

Nick Mcbride
June 14, 2017

After being detained in North Korea for nearly a year-and-a-half, an American student has finally been released, but only to reunite with his family in a state of coma. And how does the Trump administration respond?

Warmbier had been in a coma for more than a year, since shortly after his last public appearance: during his trial in Pyongyang in March, 2016.

It's not clear if he was forced to speak by the North Koreans.

He was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.

His release came after Joseph Yun, the U.S. State Department's special envoy on North Korea, traveled to Pyongyang and demanded Warmbier's release on "humanitarian grounds", capping a flurry of secret diplomatic contacts, a U.S. official said.

CINCINNATI (AP) - An American college student who was released from a North Korean prison is finally home but in a coma and undergoing treatment at an OH hospital where he was taken shortly after arriving on USA soil.

"With tensions as high as they are, we felt that we needed to talk about Otto and put a face on the person", Cindy Warmbier said.

A statement issued in NY by a Rodman publicist said the former National Basketball Association player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States.

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Update: The Washington Post reports that Warmbier has been in a coma for over a year.

At the meeting, North Korea agreed that Swedish diplomats could visit all four American detainees, which at that time included Mr Warmbier.

Americans are regarded as enemies in North Korea because the two countries never signed a peace treaty at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Senior officials of South Korea and the United States held a meeting Wednesday to discuss details on the upcoming summit between their heads of state. You may remember footage of Warmbier sobbing as he "confessed" his crime on North Korean state television.

Speaking to journalists and wearing a T-shirt for his sponsor, the marijuana banking service, Rodman said he thinks President Trump is pleased with his visit to North Korea. President Teresa Sullivan said in a statement Tuesday. "We learned of this only one week ago".

Sullivan says the university community has Warmbier's family in its thoughts and prayers as he returns home.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called Warmbier's arrest and trial "unnecessary and appalling", while lawmakers from Virginia also denounced North Korea's actions. But efforts to convince North Korea to release the men now held had not been successful until Warmbier's release Tuesday.

Leigh and Kim may not have seen each other, as a room divider separated the two men, but Leigh said he heard North Korean security agents accuse "Professor Kim" of spreading "a pro-West curriculum" at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, a school that opened in 2010 as the first privately funded institution in North Korea. A 2009 visit by former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

Other reports by VgToday

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