For the second time this presidency, a U.S. citizen held prisoner by North Korea has been set free by the isolated dictatorship—but this time, however, he was released in a coma.
Back in March 2016, 25-year-old American Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years in Kim Jong-un’s prisons for attempting to steal a propaganda banner.
Sentenced in a trial that lasted only 1 hour, the North Korean Supreme Court concluded that Otto was engaging in behavior “pursuant to the U.S. government’s hostile policy toward (us), in a bid to impair the unity of its people after entering it as a tourist.”
A University of Virginia undergraduate, Otto claims he stole the banner after being offered a $10,000 used car in exchange for it.
“Suffering from very severe financial difficulties” was his claim about the state of his family, which is why he attempted the theft.
According to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the State Department managed to achieve Otto’s release under President Trump’s directives
Otto’s parents say that they only learned a week ago about his comatose state, and that he has been in the coma since March 2016.
“We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime” said his parents, “We are so grateful that he will finally be with people who love him.”
According to The Chicago Tribune, during a meeting with Joseph Yun, the American envoy to North Korea:
“…North Korea agreed that Swedish diplomats could visit all four American detainees, which at that time included Warmbier. Yun then met last week with the North Korean ambassador at the U.N. in New York, where Yun learned about Warmbier’s condition. Yun was then dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier with two doctors on Monday, and demanded his release on humanitarian grounds.”
Tillerson also said that the State Department is negotiating the release of three other American prisoners.
Trump has taken to Twitter multiple times to trash North Korea:
North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 28, 2017
North Korea is looking for trouble. If China decides to help, that would be great. If not, we will solve the problem without them! U.S.A.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2017
Learn more about the incident in the video below: