Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

The North Korea detainee's final moments of freedom

The North Korea detainee's final moments of freedom

"Otto, I love you and I'm so insane about you, I'm so glad you're home, you are such a great guy", Fred said through tears during the press conference.

Dr. Daniel Kanter, medical director of the neuroscience intensive care unit at the University of Cincinnati, said it's more likely the student's condition was caused by cardiopulmonary arrest due to inadequate blood supply to the brain for long periods of time.

Yun met in May with North Korean representatives in Norway, and the North Koreans agreed that Swedish representatives would be allowed to visit Otto Warmbier and three other USA detainees, a senior State Department official said on condition of anonymity this week.

His family said they only found out about the illness last week and refuted the North Korean's explanation.

The doctors would not comment on Warmbier's prognosis or his chances of fully recovering, citing his parents' wishes. Doctors in OH described him as being in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness" but declined to discuss his outlook for improvement, saying such information would be kept confidential.

Warmbier slipped into a coma after a tearful public trial in which he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for allegedly attempting to steal a political propaganda poster. Kanter said they have very little information about Otto's care in North Korea, except they did get access to images of Otto's brain from April 2016.

Doctors at a Cincinnati hospital where Warmbier is being treated said the young man is suffering from severe brain injuries.

There have been reports Warmbier was mistreated in the custody of the North Koreans and possibly physically beaten.

Warmbier, 22, arrived in the United States on Tuesday.

The next time the world saw Warmbier he was distraught, breaking down in front of Korean journalists in a video released by North Korea in February of 2016.

Warmbier was planning to be in the country for a five-day stay before flying to Beijing to participate in a 10-day tour of two Asian financial capitals, Hong Kong and Singapore, sponsored by his school: University of Virginia.

Otto Warmbier returned to the United States in a coma, after being held for trying to take a propaganda sign. "We have supported the heck out of one another", Warmbier said.

"This is the Otto I know and love", Warmbier's brother Austin told CNN affiliate WCPO. "We see the results of their actions, with Otto".

Family says Otto Warmbier has been in a coma since March 2016, shortly after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labour.

"He announced that Warmbier "[showed] no sign of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or [being aware of] his surroundings".

"[Trump] told me a little bit about [Secretary of State] Rex Tillerson and [Special Representative for North Korea Policy] Joe Yun. They have our thanks for bringing Otto home", he said.

Three other Americans remain incarcerated in North Korea, and there are huge efforts by the administration to have them released.

His father, Fred Warmbier, told Fox News that his son was "terrorized and brutalized" and has been in a coma for more than a year.

"We relied on this false premise that they would treat Otto fairly and let him go", he said. "It was kind", Fred Warmbier said.

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