Political News

North Korea claims Otto Warmbier released on humanitarian grounds

Posted June 15, 2017 4:04 a.m. EDT

North Korea has broken its silence on the release of American detainee Otto Warmbier.

The 22-year-old University of Virginia student, who is currently in a coma, was freed for humanitarian reasons, according to a one-line report on the North Korean news agency Thursday.

Warmbier was freed earlier this week after being jailed for more than 17 months.

He was found guilty of committing a "hostile act" against North Korea in March 2016 and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.

That was the last time Warmbier was seen publicly -- and about the same time he fell into a coma, his parents say they were told.

Warmbier's release coincided with the arrival of day basketball star Dennis Rodman's latest visit to North Korea.

A State Department source told CNN that Rodman's arrival had nothing to do with Warmbier's release.