Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Father of freed student says son was 'brutalized' by captors

Father of freed student says son was 'brutalized' by captors

Making this far worse is that Warmbier returned to the United States in a coma and has been in this state for 17 months. "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him", they added.

Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old college student detained and imprisoned in North Korea, is carried off of an airplane at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati on Tuesday.

But amid the relief, there were also new questions about what happened to him: How did a healthy young man fall into such a deep coma?

Fowle had acted out of his honest belief that North Koreans deserved access to Christianity, he later told press.

With Warmbier's release, three other Americans remain imprisoned in North Korea.

It would be Rodman's first visit to the country since President Donald Trump took office.

At the time of his arrest, Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, had been on an organized New Year's tour in North Korea, a five-day stopover on his way to Hong Kong for a study-abroad trip. He was charged with stealing the sign from a staff-only floor in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and committing "crimes against the state".

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Warmbier was arrested on January 2, 2016, while trying to board a plane out of North Korea. It was the last time he was seen publicly.

The Obama administration had attempted to gain access to American hostages through Swedish diplomats, but North Korea refused to give them access to the prisoners.

Several Americans have been held in North Korea in recent years.

Since last March, the U.S. had been pressing North Korea to let Swedish officials see the four Americans, the senior State Department official told CNN.

North Korea's KCNA news agency, however, said the 22-year-old student's release had been based on a court decision and "on humanitarian grounds". "Mr. Warmbier is en route to the United States, where he will be reunited with his family. In no uncertain terms, North Korea must explain the causes of his coma".

USA officials have asked for further information on how Mr Warmbier became so ill.

"Fred, Cindy, and the Warmbier family have been remarkably strong throughout this ordeal".

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Yun and two physicians flew to Pyongyang and visited Warmbier on Monday. Let them. America needs to take a stand to defend its citizens from gross mistreatment by criminal regimes. Rodman, who enjoys a personal friendship with dictator Kim Jong-un, had previously received thanks from a former North Korean hostage, the Christian missionary Kenneth Bae, for bringing attention to his abduction.

In Warmbier's hometown of Wyoming, just outside of Cincinnati, residents helped tie blue and white ribbons, Wyoming High School's colors, to trees and said news of his release had sent waves of shock and joy through the community.

Before arriving this time, Rodman told reporters that Trump would be happy with the trip because he was "trying to accomplish something that we both need", prompting speculation that he may be operating as an unofficial envoy.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime", they said. His parents say they were told he had been in the coma for more than a year.

Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield. But he says the US government has to respond forcefully if it's determined the student's condition wasn't disclosed "and he didn't get proper treatment". The North Koreans agreed and he was flown out on Tuesday.

Warmbier's release fell on the same day as former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman's arrival in Pyongyang for unknown reasons, his fifth known visit to the North. Meanwhile, a Washington Post report says his parents were told he may have been infected by botulism while in jail.

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