WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the release of an American college student from a North Korean prison (all times local):
An American college student has arrived in Ohio after being released by North Korea, where he was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.
A plane carrying Otto Warmbier arrived shortly before 10:20 p.m. Tuesday at an airport in Cincinnati where he was to be taken to a hospital. His parents say he has been in a coma and was medically evacuated. The 22-year-old student from suburban Cincinnati was supposed to graduate from the University of Virginia in May.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Warmbier’s release Tuesday and said he’d be reunited with his family.
Tillerson says the State Department secured Warmbier’s release at President Donald Trump’s direction.
He was sentenced in March 2016 after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.
The White House says securing the release of an American college student from a North Korean prison “was a big priority” for President Donald Trump.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday the Republican president worked “very hard and very closely” with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
She says it’s an “extremely sad” situation that student Otto Warmbier (WORM’-bir) is in a coma. She says Trump’s “thoughts and prayers” are with the 22-year-old college student’s family.
Warmbier had been serving a 15-year prison term. He was freed Tuesday. His parents say he’s on a Medivac flight on his way home.
Warmbier is from the Cincinnati suburb Wyoming. Resident Amy Mayer says news of his release has sent waves of shock and joy through the neighborhood.
The State Department says former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who is visiting North Korea, had nothing to do with the release of a detained American college student.
Otto Warmbier (WORM’-bir), who had been serving a 15-year prison term, was freed and evacuated from North Korea on Tuesday, as Rodman arrived in the reclusive country.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has declined to provide details on the circumstance of Warmbier’s release or comment on his health condition. His parents say he’s in a coma.
But Nauert is firm in stating “Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with the release of Mr. Warmbier.”
She tells reporters, “we are grateful and thankful” for Warmbier’s release, but says it is “too soon” to talk about dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea.
The White House says a U.S. envoy met with North Korean foreign ministry representatives in Norway last month as part of efforts to win freedom for Americans held by Pyongyang.
Such direct consultations between the two governments are rare.
North Korea on Tuesday freed one of the detainees, Otto Warmbier. His family says he is in a coma.
A White House official says the May meeting in Oslo was attended by Joseph Yun, the U.S. envoy to North Korea. At the meeting, North Korea agreed that Swedish diplomats could visit all four American detainees.
Yun then met last week with the North Korean ambassador at the U.N. in New York. And Yun was dispatched to North Korea and visited Warmbier with two doctors on Monday, and demanded his release. He was evacuated on Tuesday.
-AP reporter Ken Thomas.
The president of an American university where a student attended before being imprisoned by North Korea says the school is “deeply concerned and saddened” to learn that he is in a coma.
Otto Warmbier (WORM’-bir) was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts. Warmbier’s parents said in a statement Tuesday that he had been freed by the Communist state but had to be medically evacuated because he was in a coma.
Warmbier was supposed to graduate from the University of Virginia in May.
University President Teresa Sullivan said in a statement that the school is relieved to hear Warmbier was released, but is concerned about his condition.
Sullivan says the university community has Warmbier’s family in its thoughts and prayers as he returns home.
Two Ohio senators are denouncing North Korea after a resident of their state was said to be in a coma after being released from a prison in that country.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced Tuesday the release of Otto Warmbier (WORM’-bir), a University of Virginia student.
Warmbier was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts. Warmbier’s family said in a statement that he is in a coma and on his way home.
Republican Sen. Rob Portman says North Korea should be “universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior.” Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Cleveland said the country’s “despicable actions … must be condemned.”
The parents of the 22-year old American college student freed by North Korea say he is in a coma.
They say that Otto Warmbier is on a Medivac flight on his way home. He had been serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.
Fred and Cindy Warmbier said in a statement to The Associated Press that they have been told their son has been in a coma since March 2016, and they had learned of this only one week ago.
They said: “We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime” in North Korea.
They also said they are grateful he “will finally be with people who love him.”
The State Department announced Warmbier’s release earlier Tuesday but gave no details on his condition.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, an American serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts.
Tillerson says that Warmbier is on his way back to the U.S. to be re-united with his family. He says in a statement that the State Department secured Warmbier’s release at the direction of President Donald Trump. Tillerson says the State Department continues discussing three other detained Americans with North Korea.
The announcement comes as former NBA player Dennis Rodman is paying a return visit to North Korea.
Warmbier is a University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati. He was sentenced in March after a televised tearful public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.