North Korea says US citizen Otto Warmbier was released on ‘humanitarian grounds’

On Thursday, the footage of Otto Warmbier’s return to his home state of Ohio after being in a North Korean prison for the past year and a half was released. Meanwhile, Pyongyang commented on the U.S. citizen’s release, claiming that he was feed on “humanitarian grounds.”

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North Korea commented for the first time Thursday on the release of American citizen Otto Warmbier, stating that he was freed on “humanitarian grounds.” Warmbier was flown to his home state of Ohio in a coma about a year a half after he was arrested in North Korea for trying to smuggle a propaganda poster out of the country.

Warmbier, who was at the time a 21-year-old University of Virginia student, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in prison. The North Korean authorities claimed that Warmbier slipped into a coma in March 2016 after he swallowed a pill that was supposed to fight a rare infection he contracted. “Otto has left North Korea,” his parents said in a statement this week. “He is on Medivac flight on his way home. Sadly, he is in a coma and we have been told he has been in that condition since March of 2016. We learned of this only one week ago.”

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Warmbier was arrested at the airport in Pyongyang in January 2016 before he boarded his flight back to the U.S. In February 2016, Warmbier held a press conference during which he expressed regret for his actions.

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