Mourners in OH remember U.S. student held prisoner by North Korea

North Korea has denied torturing U.S. student Otto Warmbier who died days after being released in a coma a year into a 15-year sentence for stealing a poster.

On June 13, North Korea released Warmbier in a comatose state.

Mourners have paid their respects to an American college student who was detained in North Korea for over a year and died shortly after being returned home to OH in a coma.

"We went to buy propaganda posters together, so why in the world would he risk so much to steal a trivial poster?" The service took place in the arts center, which could hold only 800 people, so many more watched on screens set up in overflow rooms.

The KCNA news agency said the North dealt with him according to its domestic laws and global standards.

In Warmbier's home state of OH, the mourners - among them friends and family - attended his funeral at his former high school. "China understands that the United States regards North Korea as our top security threat".

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".

Blue and white ribbons, the colours of Wyoming High School, were tied to the fence there.

The casket of Otto Warmbier is carried from Wyoming High School after his funeral, Thursday, June 22, 2017, in Wyoming, Ohio.

The front of the funeral program featured a quote from Warmbier's 2013 salutatorian speech: "This is our season finale".

The agency accused Seoul of tarnishing Pyongyang's image with its "slanderous talk about cruel treatment and torture" while having no knowledge of the "humanitarian" treatment Warmbier received in the North.

"This pattern of brain injury is usually seen as result of cardiopulmonary arrest where blood supply to the brain is inadequate for a period of time, resulting in the death of brain tissue", Dr. Daniel Kanter said last week.

Warmbier died six days after he was returned home.

The Warmbiers added that they are "at peace" and "at home".

Warmbier's death has only heightened tensions aggravated by dozens of North Korean missile launches and two nuclear bomb tests since a year ago.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, in remarks to reporters before the funeral, said he and his wife had spent Warmbier's 22nd birthday in December with the detained young man's parents.

The Hamilton County Coroner's Office in OH examined Warmbier's body after he died and announced that his family declined an autopsy, leaving his cause of death a medical mystery for now.

Officials at the University of Cincinnati Medical Centre, where he was treated, declined to provide details, and his family asked the Hamilton County coroner not to perform an autopsy.

  • Leroy Wright