06/20/2017, 10.52
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US student dies on return from Pyongyang. Trump attacks Kim's brutality. Moon deplores death

No trace of the botulism indicated by North Korea as the reason for his release "for humanitarian reasons". US doctors hypothesize brain damage due to the abuse of psycho-drugs during detention. Otto Warmbier was no longer able to hear, speak or react to external stimulus. The US president reacts and calls for the release of three more American citizens detained in North Korea. South Korean President calls on North to respect the most elementary human rights as a condition for peace building.


Washington (AsiaNews / Agencies) The American student released after more than 15 months in jail in North Korea died a week after returning home. Otto Warmbier, 22, was sentenced to 15 years of forced labor for attempting to steal a Korean propaganda sign from a hotel. At the time of his release, his bad state of health was soon revealed. The Korean prison administration had announced that the young man had contracted botulism and for "humanitarian reasons" had been allowed to return home.

A team of US doctors has challenged this version of the facts. According to them, the student admitted to a hospital in his hometown of Cincinnati suffered serious brain damage during his detention. American healthcare officials have argued that it is because of ill-treatment in prison, perhaps psycho-drug abuse, that the young man was no longer able to speak, see, or react to any external stimulus.

There was an immediate reaction from US President Donald Trump, who said that his administration will be more determined to work to avoid such tragedies involving innocent people "by the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency" And the White House official statement condemns "once again the brutality of the North Korean regime." US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has demanded North Korea release the other three US citizens who are "illegally detained." Two are university teachers of Pyongyang funded by US Christian groups while the third is a Korean-American Pastor who has been accused of espionage in favor of South Korea.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has deplored North Korea's human rights violations in a message of condolence to the family. Moon in a recent interview said that it is regrettable that North Korea does not respect "the most basic human rights, the most natural universal norms, and the values ​​of humanity."

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