North Korea claims American college student released from detainment for “humanitarian reasons”

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UPDATE:

10:15 A.M. (AP) — Former North Korea detainee and U.S. college student Otto Warmbier is in stable condition but has suffered a “severe neurological injury,” a University of Cincinnati Medical Center spokeswoman says Thursday.

Kelly Martin of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center says Warmbier remains in a coma after arriving at the hospital two days ago.

Doctors plan a news conference on campus later Thursday.

His father, Fred Warmbier, says at his own news conference Thursday morning he does not believe North Korea’s explanation that the coma resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill.

Fred Warmbier says there’s relief to have their son home in the arms of those who love him and anger that he was so brutally treated for so long.


(ORIGINAL STORY)

(CNN) — North Korea has broken its silence on the release of American detainee Otto Warmbier.

The 22-year-old University of Virginia student, who is currently in a coma, was freed for humanitarian reasons, according to a one-line report from a North Korean news agency Thursday.

Warmbier was freed earlier this week after being jailed for more than 17 months.

He was found guilty of committing a “hostile act” against North Korea in March 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

That was the last time Warmbier was seen publicly — and about the same time he fell into a coma, his parents say they were told. A source close to the family said Warmbier contracted botulism last year.

“Otto is not in great shape right now,” Fred Warmbier, Otto’s father, told Fox News in an interview Wednesday. “Otto has been terrorized and brutalized for 18 months by a pariah regime in North Korea.”

Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement they learned of their son’s condition a week before his release. They plan to hold a news conference Thursday morning in their home state of Ohio.

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