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U.S. student Otto Warmbier freed by North Korea has 'severe brain injury'

20 Juin 2017

Doctors said on Thursday that there was no sign of botulism in Otto Warmbier's system.

Scans show extensive loss in all regions of Warmbier's brain, the doctors said.

Otto Warmbier, 22, returned home to OH on Tuesday after being jailed in the communist state for more than 17 months following months of covert diplomacy led by Joseph Yun, a special representative for North Korea policy at the US State Department.

After the return of American and former North Korean prisoner Otto Warmbier, the victim's father expressed disappointment at the former Obama administration's efforts to secure his son's release.

Dr. Brandon Foreman of University of Cincinnati Health said tests conducted at the hospital did not show the active presence of botulism.

The doctors would not comment on Warmbier's prognosis or his chances of fully recovering, citing his parents' wishes.

He is being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center and is described by doctors as being "in a state of unresponsive wakefulness".

It has been nearly a year and a half since Warmbier was detained in North Korea, which he had visited on a five-day tourist trip on his way to a study-abroad trip to Hong Kong with the University of Virginia. North Korea claimed that Otto Warmbier fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill shortly after his sentencing.

Washington (dpa) - The US student released by North Korea this week has damage to all parts of his brain, doctors said Thursday.

Gratton told the newspaper he didn't see Warmbier commit the alleged theft - and saw no evidence that Warmbier was planning any such act. According to reports, his son is stable but has "suffered from severe neurological injury", Warmbier's father said.

Tourist Danny Gratton met Warmbier in Beijing in late December 2015 on the day they traveled to North Korea for a guided tour of the secretive dictatorship.

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CNN reports that at a meeting on June 6 in New York, North Korea's United Nations ambassador told the State Department's special representative for North Korean policy, Joseph Yun, that Otto was in a coma.

"We relied on this false premise that they would treat Otto fairly and let him go", Warmbier said. "When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release", he shared.

His parents learned of their son's condition - what North Korea called a coma - only last week, they said in a statement.

'I got to know Otto really, really well, ' he said.

In February, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson briefed Trump on the Americans held in North Korea.

The US has in the past accused North Korea of detaining Americans as political pawns in negotiations over its nuclear weapons programme.

"This is going to be a long, protracted convalescence; They should do this as a symbol that the USA government will stand behind our citizens who have been violated", Richardson said.

North Korea released Warmbier six days later.

Warmbier was detained by North Korea in January 2016 and was released Tuesday. "We see the results of their actions, with Otto". Fred Warmbier had called the conversation "gracious" and "very candid". He said Warmbier was breathing on his own.

The North is now holding three other United States citizens.