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Tillerson: North Korea Releases US Citizen Otto Warmbier – Newsmax

(Newsmax) North Korea has released Otto Warmbier, an American serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor for alleged anti-state acts, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday in an announcement that came as former NBA player Dennis Rodman was paying a return visit to Pyongyang.

“At the direction of the President, the Department of State has secured the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea,” Tillerson said in a statement. “Mr. Warmbier is en route to the U.S. where he will be reunited with his family.”

Warmbier’s parents told The Washington Post he has been in a coma for more than a year.

“Our son is coming home,” Fred Warmbier told the Post Tuesday morning. “At the moment, we’re just treating this like he’s been in an accident.”

Tillerson’s statement offered no other details and made no mention of Rodman’s visit. But it noted that the State Department is continuing “to have discussions” with North Korea about the release of other American citizens who are jailed there. Rodman had said he did not plan to raise the fate of the Americans while he was in North Korea.

The statement said the department would have no further comment on Warmbier, citing privacy concerns.

In March 2016, North Korea’s highest court sentenced Warmbier to 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion as he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.

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