North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier

North Korea has accused the USA of conducting a smear campaign against the regime over Otto Warmbier, the American student who was sent home in a coma after 17 months in prison.

Some 2,500 family, friends and well-wishers gathered for the funeral of Otto Warmbier, the USA student who died after falling into a coma while in prison in North Korea.

Inside the arts center, some of the personal items Warmbier took to North Korea were on display: a wallet, a University of Virginia notebook and the cream-colored linen blazer he wore there, CNN says.

Mr Koss, a 70-year-old Wyoming resident, said: "I had to come out to support the family, and also just to show, in my opinion, the North Korean government that we are a dignified country, unlike them".

The 22-year-old was medically evacuated to the United States last week with severe brain damage. "Our relevant agencies treat all criminals thoroughly in accordance with domestic laws and global standards and Warmbier was not an exception", a spokesman for the National Reconciliation Council said.

Warmbier was accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner while visiting North Korea in 2015 and was later convicted of subversion.

The North has often used bombastic and sometimes racist rhetoric to slam other world leaders for actions that displeased the regime.

Asked whether Bae thinks Warmbier was physically mistreated given the threats he received in captivity, Bae said it is possible the college student was "threatened" or that he was "physically tortured or attacked".

His death has increased tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.

His family and others have blamed North Korea for his condition.

United States doctors say there is no evidence he suffered from botulism, and the Warmbier family believe he died as a result of "awful torturous mistreatment".

The coroner's office statement said, "No conclusions about the cause and manner of Mr. Warmbier's death have been drawn at this time as there additional medical records and imaging to review and people to interview ".

Over 2,500 people, including family, friends and well-wishers of American student Otto Warmbier, attended his funeral on Thursday (22 June) morning.

"We can make speculations that there were many unjust and cruel treatments to Mr. Warmbier", he said. Though he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor, he was suddenly released and returned home on June 13, at which point he was already in a coma state.

He died on Monday at a Cincinnati hospital and was buried on Thursday.

North Korea has said Warmbier's coma was due to botulism and a sleeping pill, but his family and doctors reject the claim.

Twenty-two-year-old Otto Warmbier died in Cincinnati on Monday, not long after his return to OH after almost a year and a half in North Korean captivity. After global outrage and over a year of imprisonment, North Korea released Warmbier last week, saying his health had deteriorated after a bout of botulism.

  • Salvatore Jensen