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Father of Otto Warmbier, American held captive by North Korea, speaks out

21 June 2017

An US college student who emerged from prison in North Korea in a coma has severe brain damage but doctors do not know what caused it, a team treating him has said.

They said the best way to describe his status is "a state of unresponsive wakefulness". University of Cincinnati said Warmbier shows no signs of botulism.

He appears unable to speak, does not respond to verbal commands and appears unaware of his surroundings. He was visiting North Korea with a tour group.

A US diplomat who traveled to North Korea to secure American college student Otto Warmbier's (WORM'-birz) release also was able to make contact with three other Americans detained there. He says the administration is heartened Warmbier has been reunited with his family.

North Korea reportedly told a US official that Otto contracted botulism and slipped intothe coma after taking a sleeping pill.

"There is no reason for any civilized nation to keep his condition secret and deny him medical treatment for so long", Fred Warmbier said at a press conference in Cincinnati.

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Among the battery of tests Otto Warmbier underwent at UC Health: a brain scan which showed "extensive loss of brain tissue" in all areas of the brain.

Kanter said it's impossible to know what caused Otto's brain injury, but it's consistent with a lack of oxygen to the brain for a period of time.

The young man has not spoken or moved since his arrival. A source close to the family said Warmbier contracted botulism a year ago. Blue-and-white ribbons were tied around trees and utility poles along the main road.

North Korea reportedly told the USA that Warmbier contracted botulism poisoning and fell into a coma soon after his March 2016 trial, in which he confessed to stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel. The Swedes, who represent USA interests in North Korea, managed to visit him in March 2016, a few weeks before he was sentenced to 15 years hard labor.

The student's father, Fred Warmbier doesn't believe that his son's condition was caused by a sleeping pill and botulism, as told by North Korean officials.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert (NOW'-ert) says the US hopes the other Americans will be able to return home soon. Kanter said doctors have very little information about Warmbier's care in North Korea, except they did get access to images of his brain from April 2016.

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When asked what he would say to the North Korean regime, Warmbier said he would say he was proud of Otto. Otto Warmbier has a severe neurological injury, doctors say.

Fred Warmbier revealed that President Donald Trump phoned him Wednesday night to ask about his son and the rest of his family.

Bill Richardson, a former USA ambassador to the United Nations, called for an investigation into what happened to Warmbier.

Otto Warmbier returned to Cincinnati on Tuesday after a 17-month detainment by North Korea for drunkenly stealing a sign in Pyongyang International Airport. "North Korea doesn't do anything out of the kindness of their heart".

With the emplacement of the THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea and increased pressure from the Chinese (at the behest of President Trump), North Korea is feeling the pressure.

Initially, it was reported that Warmbier was in a coma and had contracted botulism during his imprisonment in the tyrannical state.

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