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Monday, 19 June 2017

American Student Released By North Korea Last Week, Has Died

United States student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months before being returned home in a coma less than a week ago, has died in a Ohio hospital, his family said in a statement.

The 22-year-old was detained in North Korea for allegedly stealing a propaganda sign, and was only returned home to the US last week after his health deteriorated.

North Korea said he fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill, however this is disputed by US doctors.

"Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today," the family said in a statement.


They said they were choosing to focus on the time they were given with their "warm, engaging, brilliant" son instead of focusing on what they had lost.

Mr Warmbier was sentenced in North Korea to 15 years in prison with hard labour, convicted of subversion after he tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

The University of Virginia student had been in a coma since March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced, the family said.

Doctors said he returned with severe brain damage, but it was not clear what caused it.

Mr Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy said on the day of his release they wanted "the world to know how we and our son have been brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime", and expressed relief he had been returned to "finally be with people who love him".

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