Doctors planned an update later Thursday. However, a spokeswoman for the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said on Thursday that the 22-year-old suffered a “severe neurological injury”. While driving away, he saw a group of about 150 people wearing blue and white shirts, and ribbons of the same color combination, in support of Otto at a nearby intersection.
Otto Warmbier was subsequently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor and reportedly fell into a coma around the same time.
He was sentenced to 15 years in a labour camp after a one-hour trial in March 2016.
Warmbier was on a tour of North Korea early past year when he allegedly tried to steal a propaganda banner from his hotel and was charged with hostile acts against the state.
An American named Otto Warmbier, 22, was released this week by North Korean officials in an terrible condition. Fred Warmbier said Trump called him Wednesday night to learn more about his son and give his best wishes.
The retired basketball star, who arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday, saying that he was “trying to open the door” between the USA and North Korea, met for a formal gift-giving ceremony with Sports Minister Kim Il-guk.
He returned home to OH on Tuesday in a coma after being “brutalized and terrorized by the pariah regime”, his family said in a statement.
” I would say I am so proud of Otto, my son who has been in a pariah regime for the last 18 months, brutalized and terrorized and is now home with his family and I am just tremendously proud of Otto”, Warmbier said.
He was medically evacuated from North Korea and arrived in Cincinnati late Tuesday.
In suburban Cincinnati where Warmbier is from, the local community there prepared for his return by tying white and blue ribbons around his neighborhood. Joy at his release was mixed with concern over his condition. “My goal is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea“.
Doctors plan a news conference on campus later Thursday.
Bill Richardson, a former US ambassador to the United Nations, called for an investigation into what happened to Warmbier.
Fred Warmbier wore the jacket Otto wore when he made a confession in front of the North Koreans.
Such detentions in the totalitarian nation have added to tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.
Go Myong-Hyun, a researcher at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies, told Agence France-Presse that it was unlikely North Korea would have intentionally put a detained U.S. citizen – valuable diplomatic bargaining chips for Pyongyang – into a coma. He accused the North Korean government of luring Americans with adventurous spirits – such as his son – into the country using Chinese travel agencies who assure safe travel.
Former U.S. ambassador Bill Richardson, who Warmbier also thanked for his efforts, credited the State Department with getting Otto released with no preconditions.