Father of imprisoned student left in a coma accuses tour firm of ‘luring young Americans to North Korea’ as doctors describe his condition as ‘unresponsive wakefulness’

15 Jun

The Warmbier family were informed last week that their son has been in a coma since shortly after his trial. The Swedish embassy, which handles affairs involving Americans – the US has no diplomatic relations with Pyongyang – had not been told of his condition.

The North Koreans told them their son had botulism, and failed to recover from a sleeping pill they gave him – an explanation the Warmbiers reject.

“It is a pariah regime. They are brutal and terrible,” said Mr Warmbier.

“We don’t believe anything they say. We see the results of that with Otto. What I would say to the North Korean regime is that I am so proud of Otto, my son, who has been in a pariah regime for 18 months and is now home with his family.

“His spirit is with us.”

Later on Thursday Otto’s doctors in Cincinnati described him as being in a state of “unresponsive wakefulness”.

He appears unable to speak, does not respond to verbal commands and appears unaware of his surroundings. His eyes open spontaneously, the doctors said, and he has muscle wastage. His vital signs, however, were normal and he did not appear to have any broken bones.

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