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North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier

25 June 2017

The family of Otto Warmbier, the University of Virginia student imprisoned by North Korea who died after being sent back comatose to the United States, hid his Jewishness from the public as negotiations for his release took place, a family spokesman said.

"We hold North Korea accountable for Otto Warmbier's unjust imprisonment, and demand the release of three other Americans who have been illegally detained".

The meeting of top US and Chinese diplomats and defense chiefs was held a day after President Donald Trump said China's efforts to use its leverage with Pyongyang had failed, raising fresh doubts about his administration's strategy for countering the threat from North Korea.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican from the Cincinnati area, told the throng of reporters stationed outside that Warmbier was "an awesome young man" from a resilient family and that North Korea must be held accountable for what happened to the 22-year-old University of Virginia student, who died Monday.

Doctors at the hospital said Warmbier had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause.

Two months later, he was found guilty of committing "hostile acts" against the North Korean regime and sentenced to 15 years' hard labor in a trial that reportedly lasted about an hour.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Friday that Warmbier was "treated in accordance with domestic law".

But it emerged he was in a coma after North Korean officials claimed he had caught botulism, and died on Monday.

"Warmbier is a victim of policy of "strategic patience" of Obama who was engrossed in utmost hostility" against North Korea and refused to hold any dialogue, he said.

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Dennis Rodman is building his humanitarian credibility, one trip to North Korea at a time.

But Chris Volo, Rodman's agent, told Strahan, "I know being there had something to do with it..."

He said: "Today we received with deep sadness the news that Otto Warmbier has passed away".

"Dennis Rodman had nothing to do with Otto", he said.

The official accused Washington of conducting a "smear campaign" against North Korea. In a news conference before Warmbier's death, they said they could not speculate on the cause of his condition.

US President Donald Trump has slammed Warmbier's detention and eventual death as "a total disgrace". When one of our own ends up murdered, we pay attention - for a while.

"I'm spending hundreds of dollars just to go over there to try to just open the door a little bit", Rodman said.

The United States, South Korea and others often accuse North Korea of using foreign detainees to wrest diplomatic concessions.

"To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident and there would be no more foolish judgment than to think we do not know how to calculate gains and losses".

North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier