North Korea: Otto Warmbier's death 'is a mystery to us'

North Korea: Otto Warmbier's death 'is a mystery to us'”

North Korea on Friday accused the USA of waging a "smear campaign" over the death of a student who was sent back home in a coma, denying he was tortured or abused.

Otto Warmbier, the American college student who spent 17 months in detention in North Korea, died on June 19, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio, his family said in a statement.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday that North Korea would be held accountable for Warmbier's "unjust imprisonment" and demanded the release of three other Americans now in North Korean custody. Sadly, he passed away after suffering from what his doctors say were severe neurological injuries that he acquired while in North Korea.

Warmbier's father Fred earlier told reporters that his son was lured to North Korea, as other U.S. tourists have been, by tour groups run out of China.

American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, March 16, 2016.

He warned that the "smear campaign" against the North compelled it to "make firm determination that humanitarianism and benevolence for the enemy are a taboo and we should further sharpen the blade of law".

President Trump has said he is determined to "prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency".

The dictatorship denied torturing 22-year-old Otto Warmbier, who had been serving hard labour in North Korea after being accused of stealing a propaganda sign from a hotel. "That's why it remains a mystery for us why he died just a week after returning home", the diplomat said.

North Korean officials told United States envoys that Mr Warmbier contracted botulism after his trial and lapsed into a coma after taking a sleeping pill.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in told CBS television earlier this week that it was clear North Korea bears a heavy responsibility for Warmbier's death.

KCNA didn't provide details of how Warmbier was treated or what might have caused him to lapse into a coma.

"Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto returning to the United States", Warmbier tells "Good Morning America".

The agent, Chris Volo, said he believes Rodman's trips to North Korea "had a lot to do" with Warmbier's release.

Like other high-ranking U.S. officials, Portman also criticised North Korea's treatment of Warmbier as "appalling".

DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"South Korea must realise that following psychopath Trump. will only lead to disaster", Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, wrote.

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