North Korea, infamous for its human rights abuses, says it released an American university student over what it calls humanitarian reasons in its first official comment since he was returned to his home state of Ohio in a coma.
The state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday said Otto Warmbier had been sentenced to hard labor but didn’t comment on his medical condition.
The 22-year-old Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, was convicted and sentenced in a one-hour trial in North Korea’s Supreme Court in March 2016. He got 15 years in prison with hard labor for subversion after he tearfully confessed that he had tried to steal a propaganda banner.
His father, Fred Warmbier, told Fox News that his son was “terrorized and brutalized” and has been in a coma for more than a year.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.