Trump's new Cuba policy corrects Obama's "terrible and misguided deal" with Havana
Korea says it freed USA student over humanitarian reasons
19 June 2017, 12:39 | Stacy Allen
Ex-North Korea detainee Otto Warmbier has severe brain damage, doctors say
Otto Warmbier is in stable condition at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center with his mother by his side, hospital spokeswoman Kelly Martin said.
The university student had been on a tourist trip when he was arrested and sentenced to 15 years hard labor, a punishment the United States decried as far out of proportion to his alleged crime, accusing the North of using him as a political pawn.
Doctors said his injuries are consistent with respiratory arrest cutting off oxygen to the brain, but they don't know what caused it.
Otto's father, Fred, saidNorth Korea has denied their son "top-notch medical care" when they chose to keep his health condition a secret for a long time.
On Thursday, the State Department said that its special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, who negotiated Warmbier's release during a visit to the country this week, had also met with three other U.S. citizens being held in North Korea.
Doctors say they do not believe Warmbier has any conscious awareness and they have not found signs of active botulism, a rare poisoning caused by toxins. Fred Warmbier said the country kept Otto's condition secret and "denied him top-notch care".
His family said he had been in a coma since March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years' hard labor in North Korea. "I just said kind of quite nervously, 'Well, that's the last we'll see of you.' There's a great irony in those words".
Warmbier, 22, spent nearly a year and a half in captivity after being arrested in January 2016.
"We've been to Washington D.C. Over a dozen times", said Warmbier. But during a news conference, Fred Warmbier said there was nothing humanitarian about the way they treated his son, who has been in a coma since March 2016. Otto Warmbier is in a comatose state at an OH hospital, with doctors saying he has suffered a "serious neurological injury".
The Washington Post also condemned the North for its "horrendous mistreatment" of Warmbier and urged the USA to step up sanctions on the Kim Jong-un regime.
CNN reports that at a meeting on June 6 in New York, North Korea's United Nations ambassador told the State Department's special representative for North Korean policy, Joseph Yun, that Otto was in a coma.
Veteran former US politician and diplomat Bill Richardson also offered on Friday to visit North Korea to try to secure their release. Aside from Otto, three others Americans are still detained in the country.
"We do not see any skin indications that are strongly suggestive of mistreatment", he said.
Trump called the family last night, Fred Warmbier said. "A really good trip", Dennis Rodman said upon his return.
The parents of Otto Warmbier, the parents of the Cincinnati student who was released after a 16-month detainment in North Korea, will speak today.
Warmbier is awake, but has not spoken and appears to be unaware of his surroundings, a doctor said.
Business Insider reported that Young Pioneer Tours, the tour company that Warmbier used, did not mention the State Department travel warnings about North Korea.
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