Family: Freed student who died has 'completed his journey'
- Author: Zachary Reyes Jun 21, 2017,
Jun 21, 2017, 2:10
(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File).
Washington advises USA citizens not to travel to North Korea due to its harsh punishments for actions such as religious activities that would not be considered crimes in most of the world, while South Koreans are not legally allowed to travel there without permission. Justin Weber told The Associated Press on Tuesday morning that a press conference is expected later to provide details. They did not cite a specific cause of death. He arrived in OH on June 13 after being held for more than 17 months.
He said Warmbier's death shows "we must now have the perception that North Korea is an irrational regime", but that dialogue with the North is still needed because sanctions and pressure haven't resolved the North Korea nuclear issue.
Warmbier was on a tourist trip when he was arrested and sentenced in March last year to 15 years hard labor for stealing a political poster from a North Korean hotel, a punishment USA officials decried as out of proportion to his alleged crime. "Most information is being obtained through his intelligence services", revealed a South Korean official.
"I have made the worst mistake of my life!" he exclaimed, choking up as he begged to be allowed to reunite with his parents and two younger siblings.
He is later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. and he is believed to have slipped into a coma shortly after his trial. His family said it was told he had been a coma since soon after his March 2016 sentencing.
Doctors said Warmbier suffered extensive loss of brain tissue and "profound weakness and contraction" of his muscles, arms and legs.
Unresponsive wakefulness is a new medical term for persistent vegetative state.
Doctors last week revealed that Warmbier had suffered severe neurological injuries, and described him as being in a state of "unresponsive wakefulness", opening his eyes and blinking, but showing no signs of understanding language or of being aware of his surroundings.
The senator from Arizona says, "There should at least be a form for them to fill out that says, 'If I go to North Korea, I understand I am taking great risk, and I do not hold the American government responsible'".
He then added with no explanation: "We'll be able to handle it".
"When Otto returned to Cincinnati late on June 13th he was unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands".
He won an award at the highly rated high school, and was on the soccer team, among other activities.
Warmbier had planned to study in China in his third year of college and heard about Chinese travel companies offering trips to North Korea. He was leaving North Korea on January 2, 2016, when he was detained at the airport.
"We have been struggling to process the result", said Young Pioneer Tours, which advertises the North as "probably one of the safest places on Earth to visit". He died six days later in his home town of Cincinnati, Ohio, with US President Donald Trump blaming Pyongyang's "brutal regime" for his plight. While almost all Americans who have been there have left without incident, visitors can be seized and face lengthy incarceration for what might seem like minor infractions. They said they wanted to cut off a source of foreign currency to Kim Jong Un's government and prevent it from detaining more US citizens.
Sen. Rob Portman, the Republican who represents Warmbier's home state of OH, said the student had "a bright future ahead of him". The Secretary of State has already suggested a ban on Americans traveling to the North.