by Sharon Rondeau

(Jun. 13, 2017) — A number of reports have stated that an American college student, Otto Warmbier, held by the North Korean regime for more than 16 months, has been released and is on his way back to the United States.

In January 2016, Warmbier was arrested and sentenced two months later to 15 years at hard labor in a North Korean prison after confessing to having taken a propaganda banner while in the communist nation for five days.

The UK Telegraph has reported that Warmbier is “in a coma” and was medically-evacuated.  The paper quotes Warmbier’s father as having told The Washington Post of his son, “He has been in a coma for more than a year,” and “he had fallen ill shortly after his last public appearance during his trial in Pyongyang in March, 2016.”

The Post stated that Warmbier’s evacuation occurred “through a U.S. military base in Sapporo, Japan.”

Yahoo! News reported that (Secretary of State Rex) “Tillerson says that Warmbier is on his way back to the U.S. to be re-united with his family. He says in a statement that the State Department secured Warmbier’s release at the direction of President Donald Trump.”

North Korea has been condemned by the United Nations General Assembly for “crimes against humanity” equivalent to those perpetrated by the Nazis.  A report titled “Report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” linked in a Washington Post article dated February 7, 2014 compiled from survivors’ accounts details prison camps where mothers feed their children mice and grass to survive and beatings and other forms of torture, including sexual abuse and forced abortions, are routine.

Update, 5:55 p.m. EDT:  The State Department has issued a press statement on Warmbier’s release from North Korea.




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