Was Otto Warmbier North Korea's Only American Prisoner?

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Surrounded by North Korean guards, Warmbier delivered a highly scripted "confession" that appeared to have been written for him.

During the meeting, North Korean diplomats agreed to allow Swedish diplomats in the North, who serve as the protecting power for American citizens, to visit US detainees, including Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old University of Virginia student held since January last year, the report said.

Had Kim Jong Un, a 90s basketball fanboy, traded a high profile American prisoner for a chance to play NBA Jam with his boyhood hero?

Rodman said the issue of several Americans currently detained by North Korea is "not my goal right now", suggesting he was not involved with the release of Warmbier, a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati who publicly confessed to trying to steal a North Korean propaganda banner.

It also said that what happened to Warmbier is the result of "North Korea's odious practice of seizing Americans to use as political pawns".

Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir) was in a coma when he landed in Cincinnati late Tuesday. Sadly, he is in a coma and we have been told he has been in that condition since March of 2016. In addition, North Korea is already largely isolated from the global economy, and uses a network of hidden worldwide intermediaries and financial institutions to provide the things it does need - including financing, weapons and technology.

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Since last March, the USA had been pressing North Korea to let Swedish officials see the four Americans, the senior State Department official told CNN.

A hospital spokeswoman didn't provide an update on his condition.

Sources close to Otto Warmbier's family noted that the college student was said to have contracted the potentially fatal illness of botulism, caused by a toxic bacteria. The State Department is working behind the scenes, but their return, as seen with Warmbier, could take some time.

"Out of respect for the privacy of Mr. Warmbier and his family", said Tillerson, "we have no further comment". President Donald Trump should make it a priority to win the release of three other Americans detained in the North, the editorial said. "Fred, Cindy, and the Warmbier family have been remarkably strong throughout this ordeal".

Hours after his release, the US government blamed Pyongyang for a raft of cyber attacks stretching back to 2009 and warned more were likely.

"The family's been through so much agony and stress that they just want to surround them with love, and I think putting up the blue and white ribbons - because those are Wyoming colors, the high school where he went - that kind of shows him support, that we're here for the family", said Amy Mayer, a neighborhood friend.

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In this March 16, 2016 photo, American student Otto Warmbier, centre, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea.

As those close to him waited for news about his health, people nationally and internationally wondered how his condition - and the lack of information about it for so long - would affect tense relations between the United States and North Korea.

Fred and Cindy Warmbier said they were informed that North Korean officials had told US envoys that Warmbier became ill from botulism sometime after his March trial and fell into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.

A State Department spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, said Tuesday, "Dennis Rodman did not have anything to do with the release of Otto Warmbier".

That meeting followed an earlier, secret meeting last month between Yun and high-level North Korean officials in Oslo.

Trump was immediately informed and ordered Otto's medical evacuation, with the agreement of the North Koreans, according to people with knowledge of the process.

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It's not clear if he was forced to speak by the North Koreans. He said Warmbier, of Wyoming, in suburban Cincinnati, was en route to the U.S.


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