North Korea denies torturing U.S. detainee Otto Warmbier

Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died just days after North Korea released him from prison while he was in a coma, was mourned at his funeral in his hometown of Cincinnati on Thursday.The KCNA news agency Friday said that Warmbier was treated in accordance with domestic law and said that allegations that he may have been tortured during almost 18 months in detention were “groundless”.His language was echoed by South Korean President Moon Jae-In, who said in an interview ahead of a White House visit next week that North Korea bears responsibility for the student’s death.At that news conference, doctors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Otto Warmbier suffered from injuries related to cardiopulmonary arrest and was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness.The University of Virginia student had to be medically evacuated from the country after it emerged he had fallen into a coma soon after being jailed in March 2016. Unfortunately, the very bad torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.Warmbier was accused of stealing a propaganda poster.The KCNA said the North dealt with Mr Warmbier, 22, according to domestic law and worldwide standards.”Although we had no reason at all to show mercy to such a criminal of the enemy state, we provided him with medical treatments and care with all sincerity on humanitarian basis until his return to the USA … considering that his health got worse”, the agency quoted an unnamed spokesman of Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry as saying.The 22-year-old was returned comatose to the USA last week with a severe neurological injury after 18 months in captivity in the Hermit Kingdom.”Unfortunately, the very bad torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today”, said Fred Warmbier as he announced his son’s death. Let us be clear: “we are the greatest victim of this incident”, the spokesperson claimed.The exact cause of his death is unclear.”Unfortunately, the terrible torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible”, they said. “We gave him the best treatment until we sent him back to the U.S. for humanitarian reasons considering his deteriorating health”, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement by its spokesperson that was released on June 23.It demanded that South Korea return 12 restaurant workers who defected to the South previous year. But U.S. doctors said they found no evidence of the illness.The United States, South Korea and others often accuse North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions.China, North Korean’s main trading partner, has been accused of not fully enforcing existing United Nations sanctions on its neighbor, and has resisted some tougher measures.