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Otto Warmbier, US student sent home from N Korea, dies

Otto Warmbier Image copyright Reuters

The American student who was released last week after being held in captivity for more than 15 months in North Korea has died, his family says.

Otto Warmbier, 22, returned to the US last Tuesday, but it emerged he had been in a coma for a year.

North Korea said botulism and a sleeping pill led to the coma, but US doctors have disputed this account.

Mr Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.

“It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm,” a statement from the family said.

It said the student was “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands”.

How harsh is prison in North Korea?

How did Otto Warmbier end up in a coma?

“He looked very uncomfortable – almost anguished. Although we would never hear his voice again, within a day the countenance of his face changed – he was at peace. He was home and we believe he could sense that.”

The family only discovered his medical situation in the days leading up to his release.


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