United States college student released by North Korea home, but in coma

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20170613t142253z_831337738_rc1440695a90_rtrmadp_3_usanorthkoreadetainee

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the State Department secured Warmbier's release at the direction of President Donald Trump. "The UVA family will continue to keep the Warmbiers in our thoughts and prayers as Otto returns to the United States and his home where he will receive the care and support of those who love him". "Otto should have been released from the start", Portman said in a statement.

Warmbier was released after being detained for 17 months. North Korea told a U.S. official that Warmbier slipped into the coma after taking a sleeping pill when he contracted botulism, a senior State Department official told CNN.

"We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime in North Korean". The 22-year-old was then taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Mr. Warmbier visited North Korea on a group tour previous year.

In November 2014, US spy chief James Clapper went to Pyongyang to bring home Matthew Miller, who had ripped up his visa when entering the country and was serving a six-year sentence on an espionage charge, and Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who had been sentenced to 15 years for alleged anti-government activities.

The U.S. government has not yet confirmed North Korea's claims that Warmbier is suffering from botulism.

The family explained that they were informed by North Korean officials via American envoys that Warmbier initially fell ill from the food poisoning after his trial in March 2016.

In November 2014, USA spy chief James Clapper went to Pyongyang to bring home Matthew Miller, who had ripped up his visa when entering the country and was serving a six-year sentence on an espionage charge, and Korean-American missionary Kenneth Bae, who had been sentenced to 15 years for alleged anti-government activities. He was last seen in public in late February 2016.

In the past, North Korea has held out until senior US officials or statesmen came to personally bail out detainees, all the way up to former President Bill Clinton, whose visit in 2009 secured the freedom of American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling.

"I'm really looking forward to spending time with the wonderful people of North Korea and of course, visiting with the Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un", Rodman said.

Nearly immediately on taking office in January, Trump and his team - having been briefed by outgoing leader Barack Obama - declared the North's attempts to build, test and arm a nuclear-capable ballistic missile to be Washington's biggest threat. But when it comes to softening tensions between the USA and the rogue state, he really hasn't done much.

United States officials appeared to brush aside any speculation of a connection between Rodman's controversial visit and Warmbier's release. Rodman, who has traveled to the isolated nation four times since 2013, had told reporters before arriving in Pyongyang that he hopes his trip will "open a door" for Trump.

The U.S. government condemned the sentence and accused North Korea of using such American detainees as political pawns. That was his last visit to the country.

A senior American official said there had been intelligence reports in recent weeks that indicated Mr. Warmbier had been repeatedly beaten while in North Korean custody.

The statement by Tillerson, which he later read Tuesday morning at a congressional hearing, offered no other details and made no mention of Rodman's visit. When asked, he said, "Well, I'm pretty sure he's pretty much happy with the fact that I'm over here trying to accomplish something that we both need", reported the Associated Press.

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