US student detained and released by North Korea dies

Tuesday 20th June 2017 07:00 BST

Otto Warmbier was medically evacuated from the country after it emerged he had been in a coma since he was jailed in March 2016.

His parents confirmed he died on Monday.

In a statement, they said: "It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home.

"Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2.20pm."

US President Donald Trump said on hearing the news that "bad things" happened in "brutal" North Korea but at least he died at home with his parents.

In a statement he added: "Otto's fate deepens my administration's determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.

"The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim."

Doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre said last week that the 22-year-old was suffering from injuries related to cardiopulmonary arrest and was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness.

The University of Virginia student was medically evacuated from North Korea and flown to Cincinnati late last Tuesday.

His parents said they were only informed of his condition a week ago.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour in 2016 after he admitted trying to steal a propaganda sign from the staff-only area of a hotel he was staying at.

The college student told reporters he was offered a used car worth $10,000 (£7,840) if he could obtain a sign, adding that $200,000 (£156,860) would be paid to his mother if he was detained and didn't return.

:: US professor held in North Korea

Following his death on Monday afternoon, Fred and Cindy Warmbier said: "The awful tumultuous treatment of our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today...

"It would be easy at a moment like this to focus on all that we lost - future time that won't be spent with a warm, engaging, brilliant young man whose curiosity and enthusiasm for life knew no bounds.

"But we choose to focus on the time we were given to be with this remarkable person.

"You can tell from the outpouring of emotion from the communities that he touched - Wyoming, Ohio and the University of Virginia to name just two - that the love for Otto went well beyond his immediate family."

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