North Korea releases US citizen Otto Warmbier


Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, is on his way back to the United States, Tillerson said in a statement. The State Department would not comment on Warmbier's condition, citing privacy concerns.

"Otto has left North Korea", his parents Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement published by CNN. There are still three other American prisoners being held in North Korea - Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-song (who were working at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology) and businessman Kim Dong Chul. Rodman had told reporters before arriving in Pyongyang that the issue of Americans detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now".

But Rodman said the issue of several Americans detained by North Korea is "not my objective right now".

She tells reporters, "we are grateful and thankful" for Warmbier's release, but says it is "too soon" to talk about dialogue between the USA and North Korea.

Warmbier isn't the only American held there; there are three others.

North Korean officials had stubbornly refused to release Warmbier, despite the repeated efforts of US officials acting through Swedish diplomats, who serve as intermediaries between the two hostile countries.

"I never, never should have allowed myself to be lured by the United States administration to commit a crime in this country", Warmbier said.

He said he believes Mr. Trump would be happy with his trip.

At the direction of the President, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea. Previous detainees have been freed following visits to Pyongyang by high-profile USA officials, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence.

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If Warmbier had been able to return to the USA, he would have graduated from college in May.

The U.S. government accuses North Korea of using such detainees as political pawns.

The president of an American university where a student attended before being imprisoned by North Korea says the school is "deeply concerned and saddened" to learn that he is in a coma.

- South Korean-born USA citizen Kim Dong Chul, who was sentenced in April 2016 to 10 years in prison with hard labor after being convicted of espionage. Warmbier was sentenced in March 2016 after a one hour trial determined that he was guilty of theft.

After his trial he was not seen again and Swedish diplomats, who represent USA citizens in the country, were denied access to him.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed the release, and said Washington remains in talks with the isolated regime "regarding three other U.S. citizens reported detained".

American college student Otto Warmbier is in a coma but on his way home after being released by North Korean authorities on Tuesday not long after former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman arrived for a trip to the capital city of Pyongyang.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called Warmbier's arrest and trial "unnecessary and appalling". In a post-trial video released to the world, Warmbier, under obvious duress, praised his captors for his treatment and for handling of the case "fair and square".

The State Department repeatedly warns Americans not to visit North Korea, which has detained a host of Americans over the years on a variety of charges.