U.S. student freed by North Korea dies after suffering “severe brain injury”, coma

Otto Warmbier
FILE - In this March 16, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea. Warmbier, whose parents say has been in a coma while serving a 15-year prison term in North Korea, was released and returned to the United States Tuesday, June 13, 2017, as the Trump administration revealed a rare exchange with the reclusive country. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, File)

CINCINNATI, Oh. (AP) — An American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma has died in Ohio. Otto Warmbier was 22.

His family says in a statement released by a hospital that Warmbier died Monday afternoon.

The family thanked the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for treating him but says, “Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”

Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor in North Korea, convicted of subversion after he tearfully confessed he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

The University of Virginia student was held for more than 17 months and medically evacuated from North Korea last week. Doctors say he returned with severe brain damage, but the cause was unclear.

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