American college student, Otto Warmbier dies a week after release by North Korea

June 20, 2017 10:30 pm

This file photo taken on February 29, 2016 and released by North shows .

An American college student, who had been detained in for 17 months, has died several days after he was released by Pyongyang.
“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 after Otto Warmbier’s death was announced.
“Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed — he was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that,” the statement added.
Warmbier died at a Cincinnati Medical Center on Monday.
Warmbier was released last Thursday after Joseph Yun, the State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, paid a visit to Pyongyang and demanded his release.

Friends and supporters of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old college student who was released from a North Korean prison on Tuesday, gather to show their support for the Warmbier family, June 15, 2017, Wyoming, Ohio. (Photo by AFP)

Pyongyang said the 22-year-old’s release had been based on a court decision and “on humanitarian grounds.” No further details were provided.
Trump slams ‘brutality of North Korean regime’ 
President Donald Trump issued a statement offering condolences to the Warmbier family. He further denounced “the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.”
“Otto’s fate deepens my administration’s determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency,” Trump said.
US Senator John McCain said, “Let us state the facts plainly: Otto Warmbier, an American citizen, was murdered by the Kim Jong Un regime.”
Warmbier was taken into custody in January 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March last year, for trying to steal a banner containing a political slogan from the hotel where he had been staying.

This file photo shows Otto Warmbier in North Korea 

China, North Korea’s main ally, also lamented Warmbier’s death.
“It really is a tragedy. I hope that North Korea and the can properly handle the issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told the press.
In an interview with CBS , South Korean President Moon Jae-in offered condolences to the family, saying, “We cannot know for sure that North Korea killed” Otto Warmbier, “I believe it is quite clear that they have a heavy responsibility in the process that led to Mr. Warmbier’s death.”
Moon further urged Pyongyang to swiftly return the foreign detainees including six South Koreans.
Several Americans have been held in North Korea in recent years. North Korea accuses the US of plotting with regional allies to topple its government.
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