Otto Warmbier: North Korea denies mistreating USA student

Elias Hubbard
June 24, 2017

"The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week after his return to the his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well", the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official Korean Central News Agency.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman made an appearance on Friday's "Good Morning America" and essentially took credit for North Korea's release of Otto Warmbier, an American college student imprisoned in the country for 18 months.

The South Korean president, a strong ally of the US, said that the North is heavily responsible for Warmbier's death.

The official said the U.S. administration was using the death to pile more pressure on North Korea.

When North Korea returned Warmbier to the United States on June 13, he was found to have severe neurological injuries. He spent more than a year in the North Korea prison after being sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor for allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster from his Pyongyang hotel in January 2016.

KCNA alleged that Warmbier received "humanitarian" treatment throughout his almost 18 months in custody, in accordance with North Korean law.

"Given the danger to United States citizens in the country, it is time to take the unusual step of imposing a ban", former USA ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill wrote in an editorial Wednesday.

Pyongyang rebutted allegations by US that Otto had died because of torture and beating during his captivity as "groundless".

President Donald Trump called the situation a "disgrace". South Korea said the women defected on their own, while North Korea claimed they were deceived and abducted to the South.

The spokesman said it was a "mystery" as to why Mr Warmbier died days after returning home, but compared his death to the case of another American detainee, Evan Hunziker.

DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Mr Gratton said the first he heard of the alleged attempted theft was when it was mentioned in news reports weeks later. "To see a young man go over there healthy and, [after] a minor act of mischief, come home dead basically ... this goes beyond any kind of understanding of law and order, of humanity, of responsibility toward any human being", he said.

Refuting these accusations, an unnamed spokesman for North Korea's Foreign Ministry told KCNA that painting such a defamatory portrait of North Korea will only lead the country to harshen treatment for foreign detainees in the future. On Friday, unlikely diplomat Dennis Rodman tried to claim credit for Otto's release, and President Trump has blamed the Obama administration for not making it happen sooner. "If we could get more trips going over there, I think anything is possible", Volo said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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