'Truly bad thing' happened to American released by N

The father of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student released from North Korean detention this week, lashed out Thursday at the reclusive regime, saying he did not believe its explanation for how his son fell into a coma.

The hermit state freed Otto Warmbier on Tuesday after about 17 months in custody.

The University of Virginia student was later sentenced to 15 years of prison and hard labor for allegedly stealing a political propaganda poster from his Pyongyang hotel in January 2016. He may be breathing on his own, but he still "shows no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surrounding", the doctor said.

The elder Warmbier said he did not believe North Korea's explanation that the coma resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill.

"I call on them to release the other Americans being held", he urged, referring to three United States citizens still in North Korea.

Pyongyang reportedly told U.S. officials that Warmbier contracted botulism and went into a coma after taking a sleeping pill. Regardless, he said there's "no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long". He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. They said they wanted all to know they and their son had been "brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime".

Warmbier, 22, a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, was medically evacuated to the United States on Wednesday.

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When asked about that, Fred Warmbier said he thinks the State Department was pretty tough with them. A UC Health spokeswoman says doctors will have a news conference on campus Thursday afternoon.

"There is severe injury to all areas of the brain", Dr. Daniel Kanter said, adding Warmbier has lost a significant amount of brain tissue. Kanter said his team had received copies of brain MRI images from North Korean medical personnel, the earliest of which were dated April 2016.

Fred Warmbier took to the podium wearing the same cream jacket his son wore during his confession in North Korea. Medics at the hospital believe his condition is the result of respiratory arrest, which is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood in the brain.

The elder Warmbier praised actions by President Donald Trump's administration to secure his son's release after the Obama administration had encouraged the family to take a low profile to avoid angering the North Korean regime.

To honour his son, Fred Warmbier wore the same jacket Otto wore when North Korea presented him before the media in 2015 at an event where he tearfully confessed that he tried to steal a propaganda banner while visiting the country. The Republican congressman says he wants to make sure the Treasury Department does not issue licenses for tourism to North Korea.

Fred Warmbier echoed the message of U.S. officials, who have said Rodman played no role in the release. He had not been seen in public since then. "A really good trip", Rodman told reporters at Beijing's airport, Reuters reported.

During his speech to press, Fred Warmbier called on North Korea to release other American prisoners, saying, "No other family should have to endure what the Warmbiers have".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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