Thursday, June 15, 2017

THREATS FROM NORTH KOREA: Detainee Warmbier released on humanitarian grounds

North Korea says they released American citizen Otto Warmbier on "humanitarian ground" after he had been held prisoner for 17 months.

Warmbier, 22, a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, was medically evacuated to the United States on Wednesday. His family said he arrived in a state of coma.

His release came after Joseph Yun, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, traveled to Pyongyang and demanded Warmbier’s release on “humanitarian grounds,” capping a flurry of secret diplomatic contacts, a U.S. official said.

Warmbier was detained in January of last year and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March last year for trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan, according to North Korean media.

Reports quoted a senior US official as saying Washington recently received intel that Warmbier had been repeatedly beaten in custody. His family said they were told by N. Korean officials that Warmbier fell ill from botulism some time after last year's trial and lapsed into a coma after taking a sleeping pill, according to reports.

Source: Reuters

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