Monday 20 January 2020

US student freed from North Korea in coma dies

American student Otto Warmbier
American student Otto Warmbier

Steve Gorman

US student Otto Warmbier, who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months before being returned home in a coma less than a week ago, has died, his family said yesterday.

"Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today," the family said in a statement following Mr Warmbier's death at the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre.

His family has said that Mr Warmbier (22) had lapsed into a coma in March 2016, shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in North Korea. He was arrested, according to North Korean media, for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan.

His father Fred Warmbier said last week that the family disbelieved North Korea's story that his son had fallen into a coma after contracting botulism and being given a sleeping pill.

Doctors who examined him after his release said there was no sign of botulism in his system.

Irish Independent

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