Otto Warmbier 'unresponsive', has been in coma for a year

Joseph Yun U.S. special envoy for North Korea policy

Warmbier's father Fred lashed out earlier Thursday at the North Korean regime, saying he did not believe its claim that his son contracted botulism and fell into a coma shortly after being arrested a year ago.

They described 22-year-old Otto Warmbier as in a state of "unresponsiveness wakefulness".

When Yun finally laid eyes on the comatose Warmbier in a North Korean hospital, it was the first time the USA could verify his condition in person since his sentencing more than a year earlier, the State Department said.

The University of Virginia student was later sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor for allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster from his Pyongyang hotel in January 2016.

The elder Warmbier said his family doesn't believe the excuse given by North Korea that Otto's condition today was due to a sleeping pill and botulism.

Otto Warmbier's return has lent support to voices calling for a travel ban on North Korea, which has a long record of holding U.S. nationals to use them as a bargaining chip.

North Korea claims Warmbier went into a coma after taking a sleeping pill and says he also had botulism. A CNN report said doctors found significant contractions and weakness in Warmbier's legs, though they are unsure of the cause. For this he was sentenced to 15 years hard labor on a charge of "hostile acts against the state" following a one-hour trial in March 2016.

"I don't know what being in shock is, but I'm pretty sure I was", he said.

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student who arrived back home in OH on Tuesday in a coma.




In Wyoming, a northern Cincinnati suburb of about 8,000 people, Warmbier's return to the United States was marked by blue and white ribbons, representing the colours of the local high school, tied around trees and telephone polls.

"We relied on this false premise that they would treat Otto fairly and let him go", Warmbier said. Fred Warmbier said at a news conference Thursday that Trump had said he was "sorry" and criticized his predecessor Barack Obama for his failure to obtain Otto Warmbier's release earlier.

Dr. Daniel Kanter also said they are still unknowledgeable of the treatment provided to the student for his neurological injuries.

Warmbier suffered severe brain damage while in custody.

He said officials had counseled the family to not speak out about Otto's detention, to avoid antagonizing the reclusive regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. "This pattern of brain injury, however, is usually seen as a result of cardiopulmonary arrest where the blood supply to the brain is inadequate for a period of time resulting in the death of brain tissue". Fred Warmbier said. "I was in shock". North Korea claimed it had released him on "humanitarian grounds", without providing specifics of the situation. She says there are plenty of restrictions on what Americans can do in countries that face US sanctions - like North Korea or Iran.

The University of Virginia student's father, Fred Warmbier, said his son had been "brutalised and terrorised" by the North Korean government.

A Department of State spokeswoman won't say what envoy Joseph Yun gleaned about the medical conditions of the other Americans.

Gratton also said he had no clue that Warmbier had taken the sign from the hotel lobby.

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