Otto Warmbier dies after a week in US

Otto Warmbier dies after a week in US

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The US student held in captivity for more than 15 months in North Korea has died a week after returning home.
Otto Warmbier, 22, was serving 15 years of hard labour for attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.
He was sent back to the US last Tuesday on humanitarian grounds – it emerged he had been in a coma for a year.
North Korea said he had contracted botulism but his family say North Korea subjected him to “awful torturous mistreatment” in detention.
A team of US doctors have also disputed North Korea’s version of events.
Mr Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage, and was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June to a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is unclear how he fell ill.
A statement from the family on Monday 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.”
They said the student had been “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands”.
The economics student from the University of Virginia had travelled to North Korea as a tourist.
A month after his arrest, he appeared at a news conference tearfully confessing to trying to take a sign from his hotel as a “trophy” for a US church.
“The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people,” he said.
Foreign detainees in North Korea have previously recanted confessions, saying they were made under pressure.
The company Mr Warmbier travelled with, China-based company Young Pioneer Tours, has announced it will no longer take visitors from the US to the country.
“The way his detention was handled was appalling and a tragedy like this must never be repeated,” it said in a statement.
North Korea said last week that it had released Mr Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds”.
Shortly before he was freed, his parents told the Washington Post newspaper they had been informed by the North Korean authorities that their son had contracted botulism, a rare illness that causes paralysis, soon after his trial.
He was given a sleeping pill and had been in a coma ever since, the newspaper said.

source: bbc.com

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