Published: Fri, June 16, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

USA student Otto Warmbier was 'brutally beaten' before being released North

USA student Otto Warmbier was 'brutally beaten' before being released North

The parents of Otto Warmbier, an American serving a 15-year prison term with hard labour for alleged anti-state acts, say he has been released and is on a medical evacuation flight home.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, called Warmbier's arrest and trial "unnecessary and appalling", while lawmakers from Virginia also denounced North Korea's actions.

Have you read Trendiee Today? Warmbier landed in Cincinnati Tuesday night. North Korea sentenced Warmbier to prison after he admitted trying to steal a propaganda banner during a trip there.

According to U.S. media, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Otto's parents, were told by North Korea officials that their son had suffered from botulism following his trial and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.

"Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with the release of Mr. Warmbier", Heather Nauert, a State Department spokeswoman, was quoted as saying by the Post, adding that the USA government was "thankful" he would soon be home in his parents' arms. The State Department representative "immediately demanded the North Koreans release Warmbier on humanitarian grounds".

Sullivan says the university community has Warmbier's family in its thoughts and prayers as he returns home.

Richardson said that United States officials had only found out about Warmbier's condition a week earlier and that "in no uncertain terms, North Korea must explain the cause of his coma".

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South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is widely forecast to inherit a so-called "Sunshine Policy" of trying to enhance relations with the DPRK through economic cooperation and civilian exchanges, has expressed his willingness to improve relations with the DPRK after being sworn in one month ago.

A plane carrying Warmbier, 22, touched down in Cincinnati on Tuesday night, after a stop at a US military facility near Sapporo, Japan. He said Warmbier, of Wyoming, in suburban Cincinnati, was en route to the U.S.

"At the direction of the president, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement Tuesday. "We get to see our son Otto tonight".

Any visit to North Korea by a high-profile American is a political minefield.

Since taking office in January, U.S. President Donald Trump has faced growing tensions with North Korea, which has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of U.S. and worldwide sanctions.

North Korea is believed to be making progress toward developing a ballistic missile capable of reaching the US.

Washington has stepped up pressure on China and other foreign powers to enforce existing United Nations sanctions, and has deployed increased military assets of its own in the region.

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Why is Dennis Rodman in Pyongyang?

The last time Rodman visited North Korea, he delighted the country's young ruler with a rendition of "Happy Birthday", suffered an angry meltdown on CNN while defending his trip, and spent time at a rehab facility.

United States officials dismissed the rumors, saying he was traveling as a private citizen.

Warmbier was on a tour in North Korea, on the way to Hong Kong where he was to do a study-abroad trip in January 2016.

The North has occasionally jailed USA citizens on charges ranging from hostile acts to illegal entry, and released them only after visits by high-profile figures including former president Bill Clinton.

This post was syndicated from Nigeria News, Headlines and Opinions - The Guardian Nigeria Newspaper. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

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