North Korea denies torturing U.S. detainee Otto Warmbier

North Korea on Friday accused the USA of waging a "smear campaign" over the death of a student who was sent back home in a coma, denying he was tortured or abused.

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.

"This college kid never should have been detained in the first place", said Mr Portman, who previously revealed he met secretly with North Korean officials in NY last December to press for Mr Warmbier's release.

He was brought back to the US last week with brain damage, in what doctors described as a state of "unresponsive wakefulness", and died on Monday.

The spokesperson also claimed that Warmbier was provided "with medical treatment" while serving his sentence in North Korea and was returned to the United States "alive" after the 22-year-old college student's heart had "nearly stopped".

But the doctors who examined him after his return disputed the botulism claim and said he had "extensive loss of tissue" in his brain.

The diplomat said Warmbier "had been provided with the necessary treatment, although North Korea had no reason at all to show mercy to such a criminal of the enemy state".

A sign is seen at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio, on June 22, 2017, before the funeral for Otto Warmbier.

North Korea claims Warmbier had botulism then took a sleeping pill and never woke up, but said in the statement that their doctors brought him back to life after "his heart had almost stopped".

On Friday, the Foreign Ministry spokesman did not disclose what caused Mr. Warmbier's coma.

"Some good things came of this trip".

As for North Korea itself? "I look at the friendship about him", Rodman said.

Just a few days after his return to the United States, Otto Warmbier passed away.

Otto Frederick Warmbier (C), a University of Virginia student who was detained in North Korea since early January, is taken to North Korea's top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo March 16, 2016.

Senator Ted Cruz from Texas said: "the North Korean regime is mistaken if it believes that its barbaric mistreatment of an American citizen held in depraved captivity for over a year will pass quietly".

But later in the day, they said the family objected to an autopsy being performed on his body, so just an external exam was done.

The bill, introduced late last month by Representatives Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, and Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, would ban tourist travel to North Korea and require a license from the Treasury Department for any other travel to North Korea.

The spokesman said that North Korea treated Warmbier appropriately during his imprisonment.

  • Joanne Flowers