US college student released by North Korea home, but in coma

Otto Warmbier is also due to arrive home in Cincinnati on Tuesday evening, having been evacuated through an American military base in Sapporo, Japan.

Warmbier has been in a coma for over a year, according to his parents, and will be rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center late Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said. Two ambulances were parked near an airport hangar.

A White House official says the May meeting in Oslo was attended by Joseph Yun, the US envoy to North Korea.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has declined to provide details on the circumstance of Warmbier's release or comment on his health condition.

The news of Warmbier's release comes the same day as basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang for an expected four-night visit. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to provide details, though one official told The Post that the release had nothing to do with the latest weird excursion to Pyongyang by former National Basketball Association player (and Trump reality-show contestant) Dennis Rodman. But the claim that marijuana is legal in North Korea is not true - it's considered a controlled substance in the same category as cocaine and heroin. Rodman's trip is one of diplomacy, with the NBA Hall of Famer saying that it's "all about peace" and he wants to "open a door with North Korea".

The detention of Americans, often sentenced to draconian prison sentences for seemingly small offenses in the totalitarian nation, has compounded tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. He was medically evacuated in a coma; the other three Americans remain in captivity.

Warmbier's parents hadn't heard from or seen him since he was sentenced in North Korea's Supreme Court in March 2016 to 15 years in prison with hard labor for attempting to steal a propaganda poster at the end of a five-day tour of North Korea. State Department officials say they can not confirm what caused the coma.

She says it's an "extremely sad" situation that student Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir) is in a coma.

Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old college student detained and imprisoned in North Korea, is carried off of an airplane at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati on Tuesday. "This is a Trump-led effort", one said. A senior American official tells the New York Times that Warmbier was repeatedly beaten while in North Korean custody.

They also said they are grateful he "will finally be with people who love him".

The State Department denied any connection between Warmbier's release and Rodman's visit, which President Donald Trump's administration said it did not authorize. We can't sanction the travel of North Korean officials because they never go anywhere.

Then suddenly, last week, North Korean representatives contacted USA counterparts and told them that the student was in a coma. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government.

It's unclear if Warmbier's release during Rodman's visit was purely coincidental.

Rodman's current trip is his first since Trump, his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss, became president.

Officials involved in securing Warmbier's release told The Washington Post that it had nothing to do with Rodman's trip to Pyongyang, calling it a "bizarre coincidence" that might have been a deliberate ploy from North Korea to distract from Warmbier's condition.

A White House official said Trump had instructed Tillerson to take all appropriate measures to secure the release of Americans held in North Korea.

Death while in captivity would have yielded no concessions for North Korea from Kim's perspective, according to the report.

The court held that Warmbier had committed a crime "pursuant to the US government's hostile policy toward (the North), in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist".

Warmbier was released this week after negotiations between United States and North Korea diplomats culminated in a visit to North Korea by U.S. Special Envoy Joseph Yun, NPR reported Wednesday.

The second American arrested after Warmbier is Kim Hak-Song.

The other two Americans being held were both affiliated with the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, a private institution run by Korean American Christians that is known as PUST.

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