North Korea frees American student; parents say he's in coma

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the State Department had secured Mr Warmbier's release at the direction of the president. A month later Warmbier was sentenced to 15-years of hard labor for his crime.

At last check, Warmbier was on his way back to the U.S.to be reunited with his family.

"Our son is coming home", Fred Warmbier told The Washington Post Tuesday morning, after his son had been evacuated from North Korea.

But State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the visit "had nothing to do with the release". Tillerson said the State Department continues to discuss the issue of the three Americans with North Korea.

The U.S. announcement that came as former National Basketball Association player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang.

During Rodman's last trip to North Korea in 2014, he took part in a basketball game with other NBA players and sang "happy birthday" to Kim, who attended the game.

Rodman, wearing a shirt advertising PotCoin, the online currency used to buy and sell legal marijuana, promoted and thanked the group for sponsoring the trip before saying that he iss making the trip so that "the door can be a little bit open" between the USA and North Korea.

At the time, North Korea claimed Mr Warmbier committed an anti-state crime with "the tacit connivance of the U.S. government and under its manipulation".

Ruggiero believes Rodman's visit could harm worldwide efforts to strengthen sanctions on North Korea. Richardson has played a role in past negotiations with North Korea.

A U.S. delegation made up of Yun and a medical team was sent to North Korea on Monday to secure Warmbier's release, the official said, adding that they demanded to visit Warmbier upon arrival in Pyongyang. He was released on Tuesday.

Warmbier's release Tuesday followed an extraordinary period of clandestine negotiations between USA and North Korean officials in Oslo, Norway, and NY. Then, Rodman asked Kim to release the prisoner to show the USA how loving he is.

Tillerson said that the State Department is continuing "to have discussions" with North Korea about the release of other three American citizens who are jailed there.

"Sharon emphasized that her church does not support the government of North Korea".

It was not immediately clear if Rodman's visit to North Korea was purely coincidental with Warmbier's release.

University of Virginia president Teresa A. Sullivan said in a statement that while the university community "is relieved to learn of Otto's release from North Korea, we are deeply concerned and saddened to learn from his family that he is in a coma".

During his detention, Leigh said he was provided with one meal a day, and slept on a blanket on the floor.

Otto Warmbier, an American university student held prisoner in North Korea for 17 months and said by his family to be in a coma, was medically evacuated from the reclusive country after a rare visit there from a high-level us official.

A USA citizen who is being held in North Korea on charges of "hostile acts" against the Kim Jong Un regime may actually have faced different charges at the time of his arrest, according to an eyewitness. Critics of engagement with North Korea say Rodman's visits legitimize the country's ruling regime. He was arrested for purposely placing a Bible in the restroom of a nightclub, which is a violation of North Korean law.

Denise Koesterman, right, and Alison Lebrun, left, tie blue-and-white awareness ribbons along Springfield Pike near the family home of Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016, in the Wyoming suburb of Cincinnati on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.

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