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American Student Freed By North Korea Arrives Home

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A pair hugs and cries outside the plane carrying Otto Warmbier a 22-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student who was imprisoned in North Korea in March 2016 before he is transferred from a transport aircraft

He was arrested in January last year for allegedly stealing a political propaganda sign from a hotel in North Korea and was later sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

Otto Warmbier (WORM'-bir), whose parents say is in a coma, arrived at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center late Tuesday night.

Otto Warmbier, a 22-year-old University of Virginia student, was released after 17 months of detention in the communist nation.

An administration official told ABC News that Tillerson called President Donald Trump at 8:35 a.m. ET to inform him that Warmbier was on a plane en route to the United States. Then on June 6, Yun met with the DPRK U.N. Mission Ambassador Pak and learned that Warmbier was in a coma.

It was apparently shortly after that date that Otto fell ill.

She tells reporters, "we are grateful and thankful" for Warmbier's release, but says it is "too soon" to talk about dialogue between the USA and North Korea. But accounts of former prisoners have shed some light on the harsh conditions he and other detainees might have endured.

"Our son is coming home", Fred Warmbier said to The Washington Post on Tuesday morning after his son was evacuated.

She was feeling "sick to my stomach for them", she said, thinking of how their son should have been graduating from college this spring.

Hours before Otto was scheduled to land, there was a row of reporters standing outside the airport, lined up facing the runway.

The defense is set to present its case in the OH murder retrial of a former University of Cincinnati police officer.

They let out a small cheer as the plane taxied up the runway.

Since taking office in January, US President Donald Trump has faced a growing national security challenge from North Korea, which has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of US and worldwide sanctions.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later said Rodman "had nothing to do with" Warmbier's release.

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Yun was under orders, which the official said came directly from Trump, to demand to see Warmbier immediately and, "if he was in bad shape", to demand his immediate release.

Yun insisted on Warmbier's immediate release on humanitarian grounds, officials said, and the North Koreans agreed.

The last time Rodman visited North Korea, he delighted the country's young ruler with a rendition of "Happy Birthday", suffered an angry meltdown on CNN while defending his trip, and spent time at a rehab facility after returning to the United States. "I'm not going to characterize what their son has been through". Worldwide negotiations on the dispute over North Korea's nuclear program have been in limbo for years, as the USA cranks up economic sanctions and North Korea won't give up weapons it considers a guarantee against invasion.

The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the sequence of events and requested anonymity, said that after Tillerson consulted with Trump, Yun was dispatched to North Korea.

"This is a matter of grave concern", Richardson said. "And why was this not disclosed?"

His four past trips in 2013 and 2014 generated a storm of publicity, most of it unfavorable, and did little in terms of diplomacy. 'The only comment I have is that I am very happy that he is on his way home and to encourage folks to continue to pray for Otto and his family, ' Thomas said.

Warmbier would have graduated from U.Va. last month had he not been detained.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown said "North Korea's despicable actions in detaining and holding Otto were unacceptable and must be condemned".

Otto Warmbier begged for forgiveness in this apology from February.

Tillerson told U.S. senators at the start of a budget hearing that the State Department had no comment on Mr Warmbier's condition, "out of respect for him and his family".

The three other Americans detained by North Korea remain there.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, was visiting the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, as part of a student tour group. Few further details are known about the man, believed to be in his 50s, who was abducted at the airport in Pyongyang while trying to leave the country on April 22. The next month he gave a tearful public confession, and that March he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for a "hostile act" against the state.

A statement issued in NY by a Rodman publicist said the former National Basketball Association player is in the rare position of being friends with the leaders of both North Korea and the United States.

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