Mourners remember USA student held prisoner by North Korea

Mourners wait in line for the funeral of Otto Warmbier in Wyoming Massachusetts USA 22 June 2017. Otto Warmbier died on 19 June 2017 in his hometown Wyoming a suburb of Cincinnati
People crammed into the hall to pay their respects
Author

26 June, 2017

His family blamed the "awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans".

North Korean officials claimed Warmbier fell into a coma in March previous year due to botulism and a sleeping pill.

The article published by the official Korean Central News Agency was Pyongyang's first reaction to Otto Warmbier's death in a US hospital on Monday after North Korea released him for what it said was humanitarian reasons. KCNA said the North dealt with Warmbier according to domestic law and global standards.

"The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the USA in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well", the agency reported.

Otto Warmbier speaks as he is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea, last year.

. He was sentenced two months later to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korea state media said.

The auditorium at the high school from which Warmbier graduated in 2013 was filled to capacity, with some 2,500 mourners in attendance, according to ABC television affiliate WCPO.

Pyongyang rebutted allegations by USA that Otto had died because of torture and beating during his captivity as "groundless". In regard to the THAAD missile defense system, China also said it had "reiterated its opposition to the U.S. deploying the system in South Korea and asked for the deployment to be suspended and the system withdrawn". His parents released a statement that said his death was the inevitable result of "the very bad torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans".

"To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident and there would be no more foolish judgment than to think we do not know how to calculate gains and losses", he said. "Today we're seeing the good, and the love that will be expressed through this outpouring of support for Otto and his family", Portman said. Later that day, that's when we found out he was ill.

Still more mourners lined roads in Wyoming, a small town of 8,000 residents, and in Cincinnati, where the 22-year-old was laid to rest.

North Korea still holds Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-song, academics who worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, and a businessman named Kim Dong Chul.

"Countries around the world and in the UN Security Council are joining in this effort and we hope China will do their part as well", he said, referring to the new round of sanctions that went into effect at the beginning of June.


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