Student released by North Korea arrives in Ohio


A person believed to be Otto Warmbier is transferred from a medical transport airplane to an awaiting ambulance at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., June 13, 2017.

An American student who fell into a coma while imprisoned in a North Korean labor camp returned to the United States late Tuesday after Pyongyang allowed him to be flown home, USA media reported.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime" in North Korea, Warmbier's parents said.

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. Tillerson says the State Department continues discussing three other detained Americans with North Korea.

The college student was given a 15 year sentence of hard labour after stealing a propaganda poster. Things took a turn for the worse while he was on a trip to North Korea.

Warmbier was a University of Virginia undergraduate when he chose to go to North Korea with a tour group.

The person, said to Mr Warmbier, was carried from the plane and did not appear to be moving independently. The University of Cincinnati Medical Center released a statement saying that Otto Warmbier would be treated there upon arrival.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo). Alison Lebrun helps tie blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016.

Suzanne DiMaggio, a director and senior fellow at the New America think tank who had been involved in unofficial talks with North Korea, said on Twitter that there was a "high probability" of communication between the Trump administration and Rodman.

USA student Otto Warmbier is hospitalized in Cincinnati after he was returned from North Korea.

A Department of State spokeswoman said that out of respect for the privacy of Warmbier's family, "we have no further comment".

The three other USA citizens detained in North Korea are Kim Hak-song, an agricultural researcher at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology; Tony Kim (aka Kim Sang-duk), an accounting teacher from the same school; and Kim Dong-chul, a businessman.

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Warmbier hails from Cincinnati, and Ohio's two senators both welcomed his release, while condemning his captors.

It is the first time that the USA administration has confirmed the dispatch of a ranking official to North Korea since President Donald Trump took office in January.

Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir), who had been serving a 15-year prison term, was freed and evacuated from North Korea on Tuesday, as Rodman arrived in the reclusive country.

The NBA Hall of Fame player arrived in Pyongyang for a four-day visit the same day Warmbier was released.

Securing Warmbier's release "was a big priority" for President Donald Trump, who worked "very hard and very closely" with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Washington Post spoke to Warmbier's parents about his condition.

Warmbier was supposed to graduate from the University of Virginia in May.

The US has in the past accused North Korea of detaining its citizens to use them as pawns in negotiations over its nuclear weapons programme.

The U.S. announcement that came as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang.

"This system imposes unduly harsh sentences for actions that would not be considered crimes in the United States and threatens USA citizen detainees with being treated in accordance with 'wartime law of the DPRK'".

However, before his arrival in Pyongyang, Rodman told reporters that pleading to free detained Americans is not the objective of his visit right now.