Saturday, 18 November, 2017

North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping GETTYUS President Donald Trump expressed his disappointment with China
Tracy Craig | 24 June, 2017, 01:35

North Korea said Friday that the death of American tourist Otto Warmbier was a mystery, denying that he was tortured and casting itself as the "biggest victim" of the affair.

As we learned only this month, shortly after Warmbier received North Korea's disgusting sentence he suffered brain damage so extensive that when North Korea finally released him early last week, at the demand of the Trump administration, he arrived home on June 13 to his family in Cincinnati in what his American doctors called a condition of "unresponsive wakefulness".

North Korea believes that the young man was "a victim of the policy of strategic patience" under the former US President Barack Obama, which refused to hold talks with Pyongyang and never requested his return, the statement said.

Warmbier's release coincided with former basketball star Dennis Rodman's latest visit to North Korea, though U.S. national security spokesman Michael Anton denied there was a connection between the two.

He was sentenced two months later to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korea state media said.

The KCNA news agency Friday said that Warmbier was treated in accordance with domestic law and said that allegations that he may have been tortured during almost 18 months in detention were "groundless".

Warmbier was detained and sentenced to hard labor early a year ago while he was in a hotel on a tourist trip. He returned to the United States on June 13 but was in a coma and immediately taken to a hospital in Cincinnati.

"We condemn any and all messages that endorse hatred and convey insensitivity toward a tragic event such as the one that Otto Warmbier and his family suffered", the school added.

"This process has been a window into both evil, and love and good", one of Ohio's two United States senators, Rob Portman, told reporters before the funeral, which was closed to the media.

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US President Donald Trump called the situation a "disgrace".

His family and others have blamed North Korea for his condition.

Mr Warmbier was traveling in North Korea with a tour group, and was arrested at Pyongyang airport as he was about to leave.

The State Department has said Rodman had nothing to do with Otto's release.

"I was just so happy to see the kid released", Rodman told ABC News in an interview. "We jumped up and down.Some good things came of this trip".

Rodman said if people got to know Kim, they would like him.

When the North Koreans began calling their American hostages "prisoners of war", Revere realized the situation was changing.

Choi Sung-ryong, an activist who represents the families of people abducted to North Korea, told Japanese news agency Kyodo that Warmbier was arrested for packing his shoes in old newspaper featuring photographs of the North Korean leader.

"North Korea is a pariah regime".

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