Hometown funeral remembers Otto Warmbier who would've 'set the world on fire'

Olive Rios
June 27, 2017

Thousands of family members, friends and supporters of Otto Warmbier have gathered in Cincinnati to say goodbye to the American student who died days after returning to the United States in a coma following 17 months in captivity in North Korea.

"This college kid never should have been detained in the first place", said Portman, who previously revealed that he met secretly with North Korean officials in NY last December to press for Warmbier's release.

Warmbier was detained at the Pyongyang airport in January 2016 after a short tour of North Korea.

After he returned to OH, doctors determined he had suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause. Eighty-five percent of North Korea's imports in 2015 came from China, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

He was serving a sentence of hard labor after being accused of stealing a propaganda poster.

In an article published by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) Pyongyang said they treated the 22-year-old according to domestic law and global standards.

Its official news agency, KCNA, quoted a government source as saying: 'Our relevant agencies treat all criminals in accordance with domestic laws and global standards and Warmbier was not an exception'.

Mourners have paid their respects to an American college student who was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after being returned home to OH in a coma. The report did not mention Warmbier's neurological status.

The 22-year-old was medically evacuated to the United States last week with severe brain damage.

"He had a deep desire to know God in a personal way", Thomas said.

"The smear campaign against (North Korea) staged in the USA compels us to make firm determination that humanitarianism and benevolence for the enemy are a taboo and we should further sharpen the blade of law", the spokesman added.

The article also criticized South Korea for using Warmbier's case to seek the release of other detainees, including six South Korean citizens.

The exact cause of Mr Warmbier's death is unclear.

It demanded that South Korea return 12 restaurant workers who defected to the South previous year. "Today we're seeing the good, and the love that will be expressed through this outpouring of support for Otto and his family", Portman said.

North Korea issued a statement last July threatening to shut down its NY channel of communication with the United States, while refusing to talk with diplomats about the detainees.

Some 2,000 mourners watched wordlessly as the tragic young American stood with local children and fellow tourists in the scuffed snow of a North Korean government plaza, his snowball slowly rising, then falling.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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