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North Korea Claims “Humanitarian Grounds” for Release of Student


Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old American held prisoner by North Korea for 17 months, was released on “humanitarian grounds,” the nation’s state run news agency said on Thursday.

Warmbier had been sentenced to 15 years of labor for attempting to steal a propaganda poster during a January 2016 visit to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. He was released this week and returned to the U.S. in a coma.

“Under a decision by the DPRK Central Court of June 13, American citizen Otto Warmbier who was serving a sentence of labor was returned on June 13 on humanitarian grounds,” North Korea’s KCNA news agency said, using an acronym for the nation’s full name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, in its brief report. KCNA’s statement was first reported by Reuters.

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