Warmbier, reportedly in a coma, released from North Korean prison

Toby Manning
June 14, 2017

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) - Dennis Rodman, the former National Basketball Association bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, began sightseeing in Pyongyang on Wednesday during a trip he said he hoped would "open a door" for his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss - President Donald Trump.

Otto Warmbier speaks at a news conference in North Korea, in 2016.

After two doctors visited Warmbier, a US official demanded his release on humanitarian grounds, the State Department said, and he was evacuated Tuesday. A medical team and aircraft were organized, and North Korea was informed that a delegation would travel there.

U.S. Under Secretary of State Thomas Shannon confirmed that Rodman was traveling to North Korea as a private citizen. On the same trip, he suggested an American missionary was at fault for his own imprisonment in North Korea, remarks for which he later apologized.

But on his final night in Pyongyang - New Year's Eve - he apparently went to a staff-only floor of his hotel and attempted to take down a large propaganda sign lauding the regime.

The North Korean court held that Mr Warmbier had committed a crime "pursuant to the United States government's hostile policy towards (the North), in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist".

An American student who fell into a coma while imprisoned in a North Korean labour camp has returned to the U.S. after Pyongyang allowed him to be flown home.

Tillerson said: "At the direction of the president, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea". "No one", Fred Warmbier said.

- Kim Hak Song, who was detained in early May to be investigated for committing unspecified hostile acts, North Korea has said. During this meeting, Yun learned about Warmbier's medical condition, the State Department said.

Certainly Mr. Trump is aware of Mr. Rodman's visit, but the former athlete's trip doesn't have official backing. Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and others had been working for his release through the Swedish embassy in North Korea.

"It wasn't a situation where they asked", one official said of the US representatives.

In an April interview on Fox News, they said they had met with Obama's secretary of State, John F. Kerry, whom they described as "exasperated" with North Korea. Yun and two physicians flew to Pyongyang and visited Warmbier Monday. They were immediately taken to Warmbier.

Otto Warmbier, an American university student held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months and said by his family to be in a coma, was medically evacuated from the reclusive country after a rare visit there from a high-level US official.

"We have no comment on Mr Warmbier's condition, out of respect for him and his family", Tillerson told United States senators at the start of a hearing into his budget.

At that point, Fifield said, President Trump got involved.

The parents of the 22-year old American college student freed by North Korea say he is in a coma.

He was given a sleeping pill and had been in a coma ever since, the newspaper said.

His parents made public pleas to keep Warmbier's name in the public eye throughout his imprisonment and a year ago urged President-elect Trump to help their son come home.

Botulism is a rare and potentially fatal illness caused by the botulinum toxin.

"Sadly, he is in a coma and we have been told he has been in that condition since March 2016".

North Korean representatives at the United Nations did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

For months, people weren't talking about Warmbier's situation for fear that North Korea would hurt or kill him.

Warmbier is a student at the University of Virginia.

Other reports by VgToday

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