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APNewsBreak: Otto Warmbier's death investigated

20 Juin 2017

Otto Warmbier, the American college student who was released from North Korea's custody last week, has died, his family said. Just days after 22-year-old Otto Warmbier was returned to the USA with severe brain damage, his parents announced his passing on Monday afternoon.

FILE- In this June 15, 2017, file photo, Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016, speaks during a news conference at Wyoming High School in Cincinnati.

North Korea had said that Warmbier was suffering from botulism, and illness that causes paralysis, and as a treatment he was given a sleeping pill from which he never woke.

Doctors have described Warmbier's condition as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" and said he suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause. "Working with such a country, we must achieve the goal of the complete dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear program", he said.

Three more United States citizens are now being held by North Korea. "Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm", a statement from the family said. "We have been evaluating whether we should put some type of travel visa restriction to North Korea", Tillerson said.

"If it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, I would absolutely, I would be honored to do it", Trump said in the interview.

Young Pioneer Tours, the China-based travel agency that took Warmbier to North Korea, said in a Facebook post that it would no longer allow United States citizens on its trips.

At the time, Gratton believed that it was merely a routine procedure, or another one of North Korea's irksome tactics on an American; however, he says that it ended up being "the last physical time I saw Otto, ever".

Otto Warmbier (centre) died on Monday.

Sen. Rob Portman, the Republican who represents Warmbier's home state of OH, said the student had "a bright future ahead of him".

Doctors in Cincinnati said they found no active sign of botulism nor evidence of beatings.

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Schiff said a new law was important to show Congress' unity on North Korea, arguing that financial measures through the Treasury Department might be more effective than a passport ban because it would deter travel companies ferrying Americans.

In a statement announcing the news of Warmbier's death, Warmbier's family thanked the medical professionals at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for tending to him.

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour but fell into a coma soon after his sentencing. Warmbier, then a 22-year-old college student, had been visiting North Korea as part of a tour with a China-based tour operator.

China, North Korea's long-time communist ally and biggest source of economic and diplomatic assistance, provides the largest number of tourists to the country by far.

In the U.S. Warmbier's death has stoked anger towards North Korea.

Under their proposal, the Treasury Department would be ordered to prohibit all financial transactions related to travel to North Korea by Americans, unless specifically authorized by a US license. Warmbier did not regain consciousness after coming to the USA and died six days later in the presence of his family.

The U.S. doesn't now prohibit its passports from being used to travel to any countries, even though financial restrictions limit to Cuba and elsewhere.

United States citizens are allowed to visit North Korea, but it's highly discouraged.

The last thing conservatives want, the argument goes, is curious American tourists talking with citizens and undercutting decades of propaganda that assures North Koreans that they are the envy of the world.

But he said the family was not told until he was released more than a year later.