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These Three Americans Are Still Imprisoned In North Korea

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that North Korea released Otto Warmbier, 22, a University of Virginia student, who was serving a 15-year sentence for alleged anti-state acts.Warmbier landed in Cincinnati Tuesday night.A person believed to be Otto Warmbier is transferred from a medical transport airplane to an awaiting ambulance at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., June 13, 2017.He was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labor and, according to his parents, fell into a coma shortly thereafter.Warmbier, a student at the University of Virginia, was forced to confess to his “crimes” and later became critically ill during his incarceration.It’s uncertain what the future holds for the Warmbier family, but well-wishes for his return and recovery have poured in from across the United States.Warmbier’s release came as former USA basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Tuesday, returning to the increasingly isolated nuclear-armed country where he has previously met leader Kim Jong Un. On January 2nd, 2016, he was arrested while trying to leave the country with his tour group and accused of stealing a propaganda poster.U.S Ben Portman, who represent Otto home state of OH, said that “Otto’s detainment and sentenced was unnecessary and appalling, and North Korea should be universally condemned for his abhorrent behavior”.However, on Wednesday, Rodman visited a women’s basketball team and the birthplace of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung.According to the State Department, North Korea got urgently in touch with the United States at the United Nations on June 6 to say that Mr. Warmbier was in a coma and needed medical attention. “Arrangements were made for Warmbier to leave North Korea”.Kim Dong-chul, who emigrated to the United States in 1972, was charged with plotting to subvert the DPRK system, slandering the country’s leadership and gathering state and military secrets when he was on trial in April, 2016 and sentenced to 10 years of hard labor.Rodman routinely distances himself from political events in North Korea.Warmbier’s release came as former USA basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Tuesday, returning to the increasingly isolated nuclear-armed country where he previously met leader Kim Jong Un.The president of an American university where a student attended before being imprisoned by North Korea says the school is “deeply concerned and saddened” to learn that he is in a coma.”We thank you for the opportunity and blessing you’ve given us to serve your agenda and the American people”, said Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, who reports suggest may be at risk of losing his job amid internal palace squabbles.The official, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because no formal statement had been released, said he could not provide further details. Tensions have escalated on the Korean peninsula over North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests and its vow to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland, presenting US President Donald Trump with perhaps his most pressing security worry.”If his parents choose to address it [his health], they are more than welcome to do so”, she said.The Warmbiers have been relentlessly pressing – first behind the scenes and then more publicly – for their son’s release.Rodman said the issue of several Americans detained by North Korea is “not my objective right now”, in remarks made in Beijing before the release of Warmbier was publicly disclosed. “Mr. Warmbier is en route to the USA where he will be reunited with his family”.A senior Trump Administration official told Fox News that Rodman was going to the North “as a private citizen”. It is unclear what the status of the other three American citizens held in North Korea is, but this process jump-started the expedited release of Warmbier.