Father of US College Student Released by N. Korea Says Son Was 'Brutalized' by Captors | NBC Bay Area
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Father of US College Student Released by N. Korea Says Son Was 'Brutalized' by Captors

While North Korea's move to free Warmbier could potentially provide an opening for talks on security issues, the prospects still appear bleak

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    American student Otto Warmbier has died at 22, days after his release from North Korea. Warmbier was medically evacuated from North Korea on June 13, and had been in a coma since March 2016. He was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts

    (Published Monday, June 19, 2017)

    The father of an American college student released by North Korea and now hospitalized in a coma says his son was "brutalized" by his captors.

    Fred Warmbier told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday from his Ohio home that his son, Otto, "is not in great shape right now."

    "Otto has been terrorized and brutalized for 18 months by a pariah regime in North Korea," the father said in an interview scheduled to air Thursday night.

    The 22-year-old University of Virginia student was medically evacuated from North Korea and flown to Cincinnati late Tuesday. He was then taken by ambulance to a hospital.

    Tillerson Confirms North Korea Has Released American Student

    [NATL] Tillerson Confirms North Korea Has Released American Student

    American college student Otto Warmbier has been released from North Korea after being held captive there since January 2016, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson confirmed during a Senate hearing on the State Department budget.

    (Published Tuesday, June 13, 2017)

    Fred Warmbier said he does not know exactly what happened to his son during his detention. He and his wife, Cindy, planned a Thursday news conference.

    The public appearance will be at Wyoming High School, one of Ohio's top-rated schools. Warmbier graduated from there in 2013 as class salutatorian and had played soccer.

    Residents of the northern Cincinnati suburb tied blue-and-white ribbons, the school colors, to trees near the family home. Joy at his release was mixed with concern after his parents said they were told he had been in the coma for over a year.

    Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said there should be an investigation into what happened to Warmbier leading to this "tragic situation."

    Richardson, a Democrat, credited the Department of State with securing Warmbier's return from North Korea without any preconditions but said a forceful response from the U.S. government would be required "if its determined that there was a cover-up and Otto's condition was not disclosed and he didn't get proper treatment."

    City councilwoman Jenni McCauley said the tight-knit community was "thrilled" to have Warmbier back.

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    [NATL] Dennis Rodman Makes Trip Back to North Korea

    Dennis Rodman, the former NBA bad boy who has palled around with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, flew back to Pyongyang on June 13 for the first time in Donald Trump's presidency. He said he is "just trying to open a door" on a mission that he thinks his former "celebrity apprentice" boss would support.

    Rodman has received the red-carpet treatment on four past trips since 2013, but has been roundly criticized for visiting during a time of high tensions between the U.S. and North Korea over its weapons programs.

    (Published Tuesday, June 13, 2017)

    "Even though they're saddened by his condition, they're just glad for the family that he is home," McCauley said. "For any parent, this is their worst nightmare. ... We're hoping that he will be OK."

    She called him "a fabulous young man" who was known as intelligent, personable and well-liked in school and in the community.

    Ellie Boettcher, a 14-year-old rising freshman at Wyoming High, where Warmbier's sister will be a sophomore, said students were elated.

    "We're just really glad that he's able to come back," Boettcher said. "Nothing really bad ever happens in Wyoming. It's kind of like a bubble. So it's really tragic. But luckily he is back, and I believe he will make a full recovery."

    Warmbier was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor in North Korea. He had tearfully confessed to trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting. He was released Tuesday, more than 17 months after being detained.

    Such detentions in the totalitarian nation have added to tensions between Washington and Pyongyang. Three Americans remain in custody.

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    [NATL] Tillerson Calls for UN Sanctions in Response to North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for North Korea's "financial isolation" at a U.N. Security Council meeting in April 2017. Tillerson also threatened sanctions on countries that continue to trade with North Korea, singling out China.

    (Published Tuesday, May 16, 2017)

    The U.S. government accuses North Korea of using such detainees as political pawns. North Korea accuses Washington and South Korea of sending spies to overthrow its government.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday that his department was continuing "to have discussions" with North Korea about the release of the other three imprisoned American citizens.