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Otto Warmbier’s release from North Korea: A timeline

Warmbier was serving a 15-year prison term with hard labor in North Korea for alleged anti-state acts.After a short trial on 16 March, Mr Warmbier was given a 15-year prison sentence for crimes against the state.Warmbier was arrested and detained by the DPRK authorities at Pyongyang International Airport on his way back home in early January of 2016 after he attempted to take a political slogan from a staff-only area in a hotel where he stayed during his tour to the country.The parents of Otto Warmbier, the U.S. student who is in a coma after being freed this week by North Korea, say he was “brutalised” by a “pariah regime”.One of four Americans detained in North Korea at the time, CNN reports that shortly after Swedish officials were allowed to visit them last week the North Korean government arranged a meeting with Joe Yun, the US envoy in NY, to tell him about Warmbier’s condition.America appeared to be on a collision course with China today after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that the U.S. was considering imposing sanctions on countries that do business with North Korea.The three other US citizens detained in North Korea are Kim Hak-song, an agricultural researcher at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology; Tony Kim (aka Kim Sang-duk), an accounting teacher from the same school; and Kim Dong-chul, a businessman.State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later said Rodman “had nothing to do with” Warmbier’s release.According to the Washington Post, North Korean officials contacted American counterparts last week to tell them Warmbier was in a coma.The announcement comes as former National Basketball Association superstar Dennis Rodman makes a return visit to the hermit kingdom where he has regularly enjoyed access to the country’s top leadership, including Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.Warmbier was a University of Virginia student when he made a decision to go to North Korea with a tour group. In a statement confirming Warmbier’s homecoming, his parents said they were told their son had been comatose since March 2016, the month he was convicted.Asked if he had spoken to Trump about his trip, he said, “Well, I’m pretty sure he’s pretty much happy with the fact that I’m over here trying to accomplish something that we both need”.”We want the world to know how we and our son have been brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime”, his parents, Fred and Cindy, said.In 2014, Rodman arranged a basketball game with other former NBA players and North Koreans and regaled leader Kim with a rendition of “Happy Birthday”. He also suggested that Obama simply pick up the phone and call the North Korean leader.Since taking office in January, Trump has faced a growing national security challenge from North Korea, which has conducted a series of ballistic missile tests in defiance of United States and global sanctions.Currently, a total of six South Koreans are detained in North Korea, including several religious missionaries accused of treason or espionage.Warmbier said he accepted the offer because his family was “suffering from very severe financial difficulties”. Yun discussed the situation with Secretary of State Tillerson and President Trump, who sent him to North Korea to bring Warmbier home.During his detention, Leigh said he was provided with one meal a day, and slept on a blanket on the floor. At least three other American citizens remain jailed in North Korea.Warmbier’s parents were told their son was given a sleeping pill soon after his trial in March previous year and never woke.Annabella Vagonis, a family friend from Reston, Virginia, whose daughter was close with Warmbier at U-Va., said, “We were at turns incredulous, shocked, surprised, joyful and sad, all kind of emotions within a nanosecond of each other when we got the news this morning”. Yun insisted on Warmbier’s immediate release on humanitarian grounds, officials said, and the North Koreans agreed.The sponsorship details were not known but PotCoin said in a press statement that Rodman would provide more information about his trip upon returning to the United States. Moon – a liberal who has historically worked for rapprochement, rather than confrontation, with the North – was critical of some aspects of US policy in the region ahead of his election.PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) – Dennis Rodman’s visit to North Korea has been uncharacteristically low-key so far.”Otto’s detainment and sentence was unnecessary and appalling, and North Korea should be universally condemned for its abhorrent behavior”, said Republican Sen.