Father says Otto Warmbier 'brutalized and terrorized' in N. Korea

Kanter and fellow University of Cincinnati physicians Brandon Foreman and Jordan Bonomo said they saw no sign of active botulism poisoning.

Kanter and his colleagues say they've found no evidence that Warmbier, who has demonstrated no awareness of his surroundings, suffered from the effects of botulism - a finding that appears to contradict the explanation offered by his North Korean captors.

Neurologist Daniel Kanter told a news conference yesterday in Warmbier's home city of Cincinnati, Ohio that his neurological condition was best described "as a state of unresponsive wakefulness".

Fred Warmbier said his family doesn't believe North Korea's explanation that Otto fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill shortly after his sentencing.

Fred Warmbier said he was stunned when told of his son's condition one week ago.

"There's no excuse for the way the North Koreans treated our son", he said. He said the president was "very candid" during the telephone call and told him Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other USA officials worked hard to negotiate Otto's release.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday that Trump had directed Tillerson to conduct "quiet diplomacy" to secure the release of Otto and three other U.S. citizens held there after being briefed on their detention in February 2017. "He has not engaged in any purposeful movements or behaviours" but was breathing on his own. Otto apologized in the video, saying the United States government had manipulated him, though it's speculated that the confession was scripted. The US wants North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to abandon his nuclear and missile programmes.

"When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release", Warmbier said.

While steering clear of politics, Warmbier said the results spoke for themselves, and thanked Trump administration officials "for their efforts and concern".

"President Trump called me at say 10 o'clock last night and just wanted to find out how Cindy and I were doing and wanted to find out about Otto", Warmbier explained.

Warmbier's release came after a flurry of secret diplomatic contacts between Washington and Pyongyang, which culminated in Joseph Yun, the State Department's special envoy on North Korea, travelling to Pyongyang to secure Warmbier's release.

At a different news conference earlier in the week, Otto's father Fred Warmbier said, "We went for 15 months without a word from, or about, Otto". White calls him a "curious boy" and says his adventurous nature led him to travel extensively during summers.

As a result of the severe circumstances involving Warmbier's treatment, Richardson is calling for more sanctions against North Korea and immediate good faith action from that government. He wore the same blazer Otto Warmbier wore when he confessed his crimes in North Korea.

Fred Warmbier (WORM'-bir) told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday that his son, Otto, was "terrorized and brutalized" during his 17-month detention and has been in a coma for more than a year.

  • Carolyn Briggs