Otto Warmbier suffered "severe neurological injury" while imprisoned in North Korea

Jun 29, 2017, 07:19

Earlier Thursday, his father told reporters he rejected the regime's explanation that Otto fell into a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill in March 2016, shortly after he stood trial in the country for a "hostile act".

At the time of the conference, Fred would not answer any questions pertaining to his son's medical condition. He also said President Trump told him that Rex Tillerson and the State Department worked very hard in order to get his son released. The North Korean government said Warmbier had suffered from botulism and was given a sleeping pill, but never woke up.

Asked whether he thought the previous administration could have done more, Fred Warmbier replied: "I think the results speak for themselves".

"There's no excuse for the way the North Koreans treated our son", said Fred Warmbier, who was wearing the same jacket his son wore in Pyongyang in March a year ago when he appeared on TV and confessed to his "crimes" and begged for forgiveness.

It is believed that North Korea has been using the detentions as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with Washington. But they provide fodder for the North Koreans.

Warmbier said even if the North Korean story was true, there's still no excuse for keeping a 15-month coma a secret until last week and denying him access to top-notch medical care.

The doctors declined to discuss treatment for Warmbier or his prognosis, citing the family's wish for privacy.

"The burden of our ordeal has been eased by the support we have experienced, not only from our friends in Cincinnati, but through OH, at the University of Virginia, throughout the United States and, indeed, from around the world", Warmbier said.

"North Korea would have calculated before his release and hoped for a positive effect", on bilateral ties, he said, adding that this could backfire if Warmbier's health condition was more serious than they had anticipated.

Fred Warmbier revealed that President Donald Trump phoned him Wednesday night to ask about his son and the rest of his family.

"Disbelief", is how Warmbier described his immediate reaction to being told last Tuesday that his son is in a coma.

Fred Warmbier said of his son's release by the regime: "They did not do this out of the kindness of their hearts".

Warmbier was detained by North Korea in January 2016 and was released Tuesday.

Warmbier said the Obama administration urged the family to maintain a low profile while the administration tried to retrieve Otto. "We see the results of their actions with Otto", Fred Warmbier said Thursday.

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