American college student Otto Frederick Warmbier has been released by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) after more than a year of imprisonment, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday.
Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now", suggesting he was not involved with the release of Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati who publicly confessed to trying to steal a North Korean propaganda banner.
An American college student who was released from a North Korean prison is finally home but in a coma and undergoing treatment at an OH hospital.
A person believed to be Otto Warmbier is transferred from a medical transport airplane to an awaiting ambulance at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was in a coma and had to be medically evacuated.
For over a year, Warmbier was deprived of his most basic of human rights as the poor student was innocently caught in the cross-hairs of North Korea's continued acts of provocation against the United States.
Three other US citizens are being detained in North Korea, at a time when Kim Jong Un has been firing missiles and threatening to strike the United States.
Mr Warmbier's release came during a visit to North Korea by former National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman.
Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, was convicted and sentenced in a one-hour trial in North Korea's Supreme Court in March 2016. According to the New York Times, American officials suspect that Warmbier's condition could be the result of brutality he may have suffered at the hands of prison guards, given that the North Korean regime has a history of mistreating prisoners.
Asked whether the USA wanted to see an Iran-style global embargo to deny exports of petroleum and other products to North Korea, Mr Tillerson said that this would only work if Russian Federation and China co-operated. "We wish him well, but we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety", U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon told reporters after discussing the North Korean missile threat and other issues with Japanese counterparts. He is looking to increase economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea, with help from China but has said he's open to meeting Kim.
He was arrested in January last year for allegedly stealing a political propaganda sign from a hotel in North Korea and was later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. In addition to Warmbier, three other US nationals remain in North Korean custody on various allegations of espionage.
EPAThe University of Virginia student was accused of trying to steal a propaganda flag by North Korea
Rodman, who endorsed presidential candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 election campaign and appeared twice as a contestant on Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" TV show, said his latest visit was merely created to visit old friends and to "have a good time".
They said "we want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime" in North Korea. That would be grounds in North Korea for a subversion charge.
A member of the congregation, Jenni McCauley said: 'Our entire Wyoming community is thrilled that Otto is finally being returned to the U.S. and to his family.
Currently, a total of six South Koreans are detained in North Korea, including several religious missionaries accused of treason or espionage. Joseph Yun, the USA special envoy on North Korea, met with North Korean officials in Oslo in May and reached agreement for Swedish diplomats to visit Warmbier.
In May, Yun met with met high-level representatives from the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oslo, Norway, and the North Koreans agreed that the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang would be authorized to pay a consular visit to all four detainees.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has declined to provide details on the circumstance of Warmbier's release or comment on his health condition.
According to United States media, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, Otto's parents, were told by North Korea officials that their son had suffered from botulism following his trial and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.
Richardson said that U.S. officials had only found out about Warmbier's condition a week earlier and that "in no uncertain terms, North Korea must explain the cause of his coma".
Warmbier's parents Fred and Cindy announced his release in a statement to CNN on Tuesday. A 2009 visit by former President Bill Clinton secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.
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But efforts to persuade North Korea to release the men now held had not been successful until Warmbier's release Tuesday. His release comes as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang.
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