In their first official comments since releasing American university student Otto Warmbier back to his home state of Ohio in a coma, North Korea’s state-run Central News Agency stated on Thursday that Warmbier had been sentenced to hard labor. They said nothing about his medical condition, but noted that the 22-year-old University of Virginia undergrad was let go for “humanitarian reasons.”
Warmbier was convicted and sentenced for “subversion” in a one-hour trial in North Korea’s Supreme Court in March 2016. He was ordered to serve 15 years in prison with hard labor after he confessed to having tried to steal a propaganda banner while visiting the reclusive country.
North Korea told a US official that Warmbier contracted botulism and slipped into the coma after taking a sleeping pill.
According to a statement released by his parents, Fred and Cindy Warmbier, “Otto has left North Korea. 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.”
In other news, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman is in North Korea now, spreading the good word about basketball.
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Dennis Rodman gives a Trump gift to North Korea