Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
National | By Traci Kelley

Student freed by North Korea has severe neurological injury


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

Otto Frederick Warmbier, a University of Virginia student who has been detained in North Korea since early January, attends a news conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo February 29, 2016. He spontaneously opens and blinks his eyes but doesn't seem to understand language, respond to verbal commands or be aware of his surroundings.

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. "Since the United States does not maintain diplomatic or consular relations with North Korea, the USA government has no means to provide normal consular services to US citizens in North Korea".

Earlier Thursday, his father told reporters he rejected the regime's explanation that Otto fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill in March 2016, shortly after he stood trial in the country for a "hostile act".

AP also said that "doctors treating him in the U.S. said they found no evidence of botulism, but did find severe brain damage consistent with losing oxygen to the brain".

Warmbier was sentenced to serve 15 years of hard labor after he confessed to stealing a political poster from his hotel during a trip to the country. "You know, [the president] was very candid", Fred said.

The United States should also move quickly to step up sanctions on the regime of Kim Jong Un, which has been racing to develop missiles that can reach the United States with a nuclear warhead.

Warmbier was released from a North Korean prison and returned home to suburban Cincinnati on Tuesday in a coma. (Reuters) "We've been we've been brutalized for the last 18 months with misinformation, no information", "Do I think the past administration could have done more?"

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Otto Warmbier has a severe brain injury and is in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness", his OH doctors said on Thursday.

They have had no direct contact with North Korean medical authorities, Kanter said, but Warmbier arrived with two brain scans dated April and July 2016. According to reports, his son is stable but has "suffered from severe neurological injury", Warmbier's father said. "I just said kind of quite nervously, 'Well, that's the last we'll see of you.' There's a great irony in those words".

In his first public interview, Danny Gratton of Staffordshire, England, told The Washington Post he met Warmbier in Beijing in late December 2015 as part of a tour group traveling to North Korea - and was his roommate in Pyongyang.

Tens of thousands of people are detained across the isolated country in inhumane conditions and subjected to torture and forced labour, it said.

He called on North Korea to release other American detainees.

Warmbier's release coincided with basketball star Dennis Rodman's latest visit to North Korea, though Michael Anton, a USA national security spokesman, told CNN there is no connection between the two.

He said he and his wife grew frustrated with the lack of progress and with the Obama administration's instructions not to talk about their son's case publicly out of concern it would upset the North and make a release less likely. "A really good trip", Dennis Rodman said upon his return. Some American officials suspect that Warmbier's current condition is the result of his treatment.

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