Amb. Bolton: North Korea's Treatment of Otto Warmbier Was 'Barbaric'

The controversy has flared up an already tense situation between the two countries.

The University of Virginia student's parents were told he has been in a coma for about a year, and that he had contracted botulism, which causes paralysis.

Warmbier was detained by North Korea in January 2016 and was released Tuesday.

The retired sports celebrity was credited with the release of another USA captive in 2014, but Warmbier's release was negotiated between the two governments. He was alleged to have stolen a propaganda and was charged with committing "crimes against the state". Others want to know why he was in North Korea in the first place. Warmbier was later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Richardson credited the State Department with the successful return of Warmbier, but said a response by the US government will be required if it is found there was a cover-up relating to Otto's condition and if he had not received proper medical treatment.

Warmbier has opened and blinked his eyes, but has not shown signs that he can understand language or that he is aware of his surroundings.

North Korea has essentially denied allegations of foul play.

"I would like to highlight this morning the bittersweet feeling that my family has: relief that Otto is now home in the arms of those who love him and anger that he was so brutally treated for so long", Fred Warmbier said.

Until 2010, Warmbier's condition was generally referred to as a vegetative state, but many doctors saw the term as pejorative, since it suggested that a patient was somehow similar to a vegetable. The doctors stopped short of saying his condition could be permanent. The U.S. State Department then negotiated his release from the country. Joseph Yun, Washington's special envoy on North Korea, added they were working to secure their freedom as well.

Warmbier called on North Korea to release the other Americans being held there.

They also told reporters they have had no contact whatsoever with North Korean medical officials and have no idea what type or quality of care he was given. As a result, Yun met with North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations in New York City.

An American college student who was released from a North Korean prison is finally home but in a coma and undergoing treatment at an OH hospital. Warmbier has been around his family continuously since his return to the US.

American university student Otto Warmbier, who was released by North Korea this week after falling into a coma while in a labour camp, has suffered "severe neurological injury", a hospital spokesman said yesterday.

The most important diagnostic test conducted, doctors said, showed that Otto had extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain.

At the request of the family, doctors would not publicly discuss Warmbier's prognosis or chances of recovery. As of this time, former President Obama has not yet commented on this allegation.

"Last evening, we received a very nice phone call from Pres. Trump, who told us that Sec. of State Tillerson worked hard to bring Otto home".

But he said the U.S. government had to respond forcefully if it was determined Mr Warmbier's condition was not disclosed "and he didn't get proper treatment".

Vanessa Coleman