US college student released by North Korea home, but in coma


Two ambulances were parked near an airport hangar.

Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir), whose parents say is in a coma, arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center late Tuesday night.

North Korea has released Cincinnati native Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old college student who had been detained and imprisoned in that reclusive dictatorship for more than a year.

But amid the relief, there are also new questions about what happened to him: How did a healthy 22-year-old man fall into such a deep coma?

Americans are regarded as enemies in North Korea because the two countries never signed a peace treaty at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Rodman had told reporters before arriving in Pyongyang that the issue of Americans detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now".

Dennis Rodman, the former National Basketball Association bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, flew back to Pyongyang on Tuesday for the first time in Donald Trump's presidency.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman thanked a digital currency for the marijuana industry for sponsoring his current visit to North Korea for meetings with dictator Kim Jong Un. "My Center for Global Engagement has worked on behalf of the Warmbier family with the North Korean government directly, including a visit late a year ago to advance negotiations for his release, as well as with both the Obama and Trump administrations".

"I'm just here to see some friends and have a good time", he said.

She also reiterated the State Department's travel advice against going to North Korea, with which the United States has no diplomatic relations. He was sentenced in March after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

A White House official says the May meeting in Oslo was attended by Joseph Yun, the US envoy to North Korea. Rodman told CNN he wasn't there to lobby for the release of any of the four Americans detained in the country.

The detention of Americans, often sentenced to draconian prison sentences for seemingly small offenses in the totalitarian nation, has compounded tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

More news: Two Canadians among those sought by US authorities over attack on protesters
More news: Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo to make major announcements at E3
More news: Sadiq Khan: Cancel Donald Trump's United Kingdom visit

Warmbier's parents confirmed their son's condition. US officials last had consular access to Warmbier on March 2, 2016, through the Swedish Embassy in Pyongyang, Nauert said.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, was convicted and sentenced in a one-hour trial in North Korea's Supreme Court in March 2016. While it is a secular school - North Korea keeps a tight grip on information about religion - the university chiefly employs Christian staff.

In Tokyo, a visiting senior USA official said Rodman is making the trip as a private citizen. The North Koreans "were informed that the airplane would land, American and medical officials would get out".

A North Korean foreign ministry official said Rodman would stay until Saturday.

It's unclear if Warmbier's release during Rodman's visit was purely coincidental.

But the important thing in the immediate future is Mr. Warmbier's health. Warmbier's family said in a statement that he is in a coma and on his way home.

The State Department denied any connection between Warmbier's release and Rodman's visit, which President Donald Trump's administration said it did not authorise.

Warmbier's parents were told their son was given a sleeping pill soon after his trial in March past year and never woke.

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. 'The journey for them has been very hard, to say the least, and they still need our support and love'. Moon - a liberal who has historically worked for rapprochement, rather than confrontation, with the North - was critical of some aspects of USA policy in the region ahead of his election.

North Korean representatives at the United Nations did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Warmbier graduated from there in 2013 as class salutatorian and had played soccer.

Tillerson said the State Department secured his release at Trump's direction, and a spokeswoman was firm in saying Rodman's trip had nothing to do with Warmbier's release. "We strongly, strongly suggest that Americans do not go to North Korea".