Published: Thu, June 15, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

US student released 'on humanitarian grounds': Pyongyang

US student released 'on humanitarian grounds': Pyongyang

He got 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion after he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner. "So I think that people are trying to be supportive of the family and let the community-family know that we are very with them". They plan to hold a news conference Thursday morning in their home state of Ohio.

Tension has escalated on the Korean peninsula over North Korea's nuclear and missile tests since a year ago.

Visitors and medical personnel enter a transport plane carrying Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016.

The detention of Americans, often sentenced to draconian prison sentences for seemingly small offenses in the totalitarian nation, has compounded tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Fred Warmbier told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday from his OH home that his son, Otto, "is not in great shape right now". His family have said he was "terrorised and brutalised" by Kim Jong-Un's regime.

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Foreigners who have been detained or imprisoned in North Korea, such as United States missionary Kenneth Bae, have later said they endured long hours of strenuous work, health problems, and verbal and emotional abuse by their captors.

"Warmbier, who had been in hard labor, was sent back home on June 13, 2017, on humanitarian grounds according to the adjudication made on the same day by the Central Court of the DPRK", the agency said in the one-sentence report, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The official referred to them as "hostages".

The U.S. government has issued travel warnings to Americans against travel to the North.

The former National Basketball Association star gifted the North Korean dictator a copy of President Donald Trump's book "The Art of The Deal".

"Joseph Yun went to Pyongyang to accompany Mr Warmbier home", Thomas Shannon, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, told reporters in Seoul Wednesday.

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Rodman has been visiting North Korea since Tuesday, his latest trip to the isolated state.

Go Myong-Hyun, researcher at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, told AFP that it was unlikely North Korea would have intentionally put a detained U.S. citizen - valuable diplomatic bargaining chips for Pyongyang - into a coma. He is looking to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea, with help from China but has said he's open to meeting Kim.

His release came after Joseph Yun, the top US nuclear envoy, held a meeting in Oslo with North Korean diplomats and another in NY over the detained American.

Tillerson said the Department of State was continuing "to have discussions" with North Korea about the release of other three American citizens imprisoned there.

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