April 21, 2018

US Student Held in North Korea Died of Oxygen Starved Brain

29 September 2017, 12:40 | Simon Arnold

North Korea tortured and 'destroyed' prisoner Otto Warmbier, parents say

Otto Warmbier: tortured to death or tragic accident?

The Hamilton County Coroner's report has listed the cause of death as brain damage from a lack of oxygen from an unknown injury "more than a year prior to death".

The 22-year-old American university student was released by North Korea after reportedly going into a coma shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years hard labour in March 2016. President Donald Trump tweeted after their TV appearance: "Otto was tortured beyond belief by North Korea".

But Lakshmi Sammarco, a medical examiner in Mr Warmbier's home state of OH, said although the student had died from a lack of oxygen and blood to the brain, she could not explain what had caused the condition.

The body of Otto Warmbier had only a few scars, all due to medical devices, except one, she said, adding that the interventions television family Warmbier had led it to publicly disclose its results.

Warmbier was with a departing tour group visiting North Korea in early 2016 when he was arrested at the Pyongyang airport and accused of trying to steal a propaganda poster.

Otto's family did not allow a full autopsy on their son, who died six days after he was flown home to Cincinnati in June.

U.S. doctors has previously said there was no evidence of the botulism that North Korea had alluded to. "No mother, no parent should ever have gone through what we went through".

Mrs Warmbier added that the student was destroyed and only released by North Korea as they didn't want him to die on their soil. "We don't know", Sammarco said.

The coroner also found a collection of scars on Otto's "well-developed, well-nourished" body. "He was blind, he was deaf".

According to the medical report, Warmbier died primarily from "complications of chronic anoxic/ischemic encephalopathy", meaning his brain was deprived of oxygen. The manner of death was undetermined, but Sammarco said it could have happened naturally had he undergone cardiac arrest.

"We see North Korea claiming to be a victim and that the world is picking on them and we are here to tell you North Korea is not a victim, they are terrorists", Fred Warmbier said during the interview. His teeth looked like they had been rearranged with a pair of pliers.

"I felt very comfortable that there wasn't any evidence of trauma" to the teeth, she told reporters.

The coroner's report, however, indicated Warmbier's teeth were "natural and in good fix". The us president has accused North Korea of having "tortured beyond the imaginable".

During the interview, Cindy and Fred Warmbier revealed that Otto was not in a coma when he entered on the American territory. Kim Jong-un's regime applied conscious and systematic torture to Otto. he said.

Sammarco said she conducted a "virtual autopsy" using extensive medical scanning and imaging.

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