American Otto Warmbier Has Been Released From A North Korean Prison

Dennis Rodman to Return to North Korea

North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, an American serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts, as it is revealed that the University of Virginia student has been in a coma for more than a year.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also confirmed Warmbier's release in a statement.

Fred Warmbier tells NPR's Emily Kopp that he's been told his son has been in a coma since sometime after his sentencing in March of 2016.

Warmbier's family was told that their son came down with a case of botulism soon after he was found guilty, and was subsequently given a sleeping pill.

Officials involved in securing Warmbier's release told The Post that it had nothing to do with Rodman's trip to Pyongyang, calling it a "bizarre coincidence" that might have been a deliberate ploy from North Korea to distract from Warmbier's condition.

Speaking before his one-hour trial, a tearful Warmbier told reporters he was offered a used vehicle worth $10,000 if he could successfully steal the propaganda banner. "We get to see our son Otto tonight", he said.

"I beg that you see how I am only human", Warmbier said at his trial.

USA officials then urged those with the ability to persuade Pyongyang to ratchet up the pressure to get him released, said the source, who is familiar with the government's efforts.

University President Teresa Sullivan said in a statement that the school is relieved to hear Warmbier was released, but is concerned about his condition.

On the same trip, he suggested an American missionary was at fault for his own imprisonment in North Korea, remarks for which he later apologized.

In 2014, Rodman arranged a basketball game with other former NBA players and North Koreans and regaled leader Kim with a rendition of "Happy Birthday".

Shannon Jr., the under secretary of state for political affairs, said earlier this week that Rodman was not acting in any official capacity on his visit.

But it noted that the State Department is continuing "to have discussions" with North Korea about the release of other American citizens who are jailed there.

His release comes as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang. Warmbier's family said in a statement that he is in a coma and on his way home. Rodman backed Trump's presidential campaign and twice appeared on his "Celebrity Apprentice" TV show.

Warmbier was detained on January 2, 2016, at Pyongyang International Airport, while visiting the country as a tourist with Young Pioneer Tour. But efforts to persuade North Korea to release the men now held had not been successful until Warmbier's release Tuesday. Rodman has arrived in North Korea on his first visit since President Donald Trump took office. The US does not have a diplomatic mission in North Korea.

It's not clear if he was forced to speak by the North Koreans.

One month later, he was sentenced to prison.

"With tensions as high as they are, we felt that we needed to talk about Otto and put a face on the person", Cindy Warmbier said.

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