Ohio student freed by North Korea has severe neurological injury

Friday, 16 Jun, 2017

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan showed much brain damage. They said they had no information about the kind of care he received in North Korea.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have been heightened by dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since the beginning of a year ago.

After restating the question for other reporters who could not hear it, Warmbier gave a quick answer. He is in stable condition, but suffered a severe neurological injury, the official said.

At a news conference Thursday morning Fred Warmbier said he only learned a week ago Otto was unconscious and had been for more than a year.

The Warmbier family doesn't believe North Korea's explanation that the 22-year-old fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill shortly after he was sentenced in March 2016, Warmbier's father told reporters Thursday. "We did so withour result", he said.

One of former President Barack Obama's advisers says the Obama administration had "no higher priority" than securing the release of Americans detained overseas but North Korea's isolation "posed unique challenges". We were advised that it was important that you don't upset the North Koreans.

Interestingly, the doctors said they found no evidence of fractures to the skull or damage to other bones.

Trump called the family last night, Fred Warmbier said.

FILE - In this February 29, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks as he is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea. He was charged with stealing the sign from a staff-only floor in the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang and committing "crimes against the state".

That was used as evidence in his hourlong trial. It was the last time he was seen publicly before this week.

What I would say to the North Korean regime is that I am so proud of Otto, my son, who has been in a pariah regime for 18 months and is now home with his family.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert (NOW'-ert) says the US hopes the other Americans will be able to return home soon.

The father of a United States university student repatriated in a coma this week after being held in North Korea for 17 months says his son was "brutalised and terrorised" in custody.

The U.S. government this week issued a rare alert squarely blaming the North Korean government for a raft of cyber attacks stretching back to 2009 and warning that more were likely.

In the press conference, Warmbier appeared wearing the jacket that his son wore during his trial in North Korea.

Warmbier praised the Trump administration, thanking Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Joseph Yun, the State Department's top official on North Korea. "What he endured, the brutality, the terror that he went through... that doesn't speak to who Otto really is..." Doctors planned an update later Thursday. Blue-and-white ribbons in the school's colors were tied around trees and utility poles all the way along the city's main road in a show of support.

He left the vehicle and spoke to the crowd. "I don't know what being in shock is", he said, "but I'm pretty sure I was". "We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him".

Fred Warmbier (WORM'-bir) told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday that his son, Otto, was "terrorized and brutalized" during his 17-month detention and has been in a coma for more than a year.

"Otto is a fighter", he said.