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North Korea releases USA citizen Otto Warmbier

16 Juin 2017

Hours after his arrival the previous day, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that North Korea had released an American student serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.

The North has occasionally jailed U.S. citizens and released them only after visits by high-profile political figures, including former president Bill Clinton.

"Since March 2, no one has seen or heard from Otto". His parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, said their son has been in a coma since March 2016.

The North Korean account, the family said, claimed that Warmbier then fell into a coma after being given a sleeping pill.

Warmbier's parents confirmed their son's condition. Former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman, second right, towers over North Korean children during his visit to Mangyongdae, the birth place of late North Korean leader Kim Il Sung on Wednesday, June 14, 2017, in Pyongyang, Nor.

"My goal is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea", he said. In his memoir Not Forgotten, missionary Kenneth Bae, who was imprisoned for more than two years, wrote of daily interrogations "from 8 in the morning until 10 or 11 o'clock at night, every day for four weeks". Global negotiations on the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program have been in limbo for years, as the US cranks up economic sanctions and North Korea won't give up weapons it considers a guarantee against invasion. The third was a businessman.

Korean-American professor Kim Sang-duk (or Tony Kim) who was detained in April 2017. He had also taught at the university. It is unclear what, if any, connection the two prisoners may have had with each other.

North Korea has woefully inadequate medical care, and it is not clear how North Korean doctors had been caring for Warmbier for more than a year in an unconscious state.

Perhaps vice as a virtue is something that North Korea can be enticed to understand.

Officials worked quietly as reporters and photographers watched from behind a fence.

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She called him "a fabulous young man" who was known as intelligent, personable and well-liked in school and in the community. His classmates described him as a proud Korean with a passion for issues related to food security and agriculture.

Foreign detainees in North Korea have previously recanted confessions, saying they were made under pressure.

"It wasn't a situation where they asked", one official said of the US representatives.

In November 2014, USA spy chief James Clapper went to Pyongyang to bring home Matthew Miller, who had ripped up his visa when entering the country and was serving a six-year sentence on an espionage charge, and Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who had been sentenced to 15 years for alleged anti-government activities.

The chancellor of the university, Chan-Mo Park, told the New York Times that Kim was involved in some extracurricular activities, such as volunteering at an orphanage.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said "North Korea's despicable actions in detaining and holding Otto were unacceptable and must be condemned". Citing the prisoner's Facebook page, the Times reported that Kim studied accounting at the University of California, Riverside and Aurora University, and spent about a decade working as an accountant in the USA before returning to Asia. Kim is a naturalized USA citizen and resident of Fairfax, Va., who ran a trade and hotel services firm in the special administrative zone between China and the DPRK.

He was charged with "hostile acts against the state", and after an hourlong trial in March 2016, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor.

A statement issued in NY by a Rodman publicist said the former National Basketball Association player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States.

The North Korean government reportedly arranged a limited press conference that was covered by South Korea's Yonhap News Agency and China's state-run Xinhua.

North Korea releases USA citizen Otto Warmbier