Otto Warmbier, released to USA from North Korea, non-responsive to speech

Otto Warmbier hasn't needed a respirator or supplemental oxygen since arriving at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center late Tuesday night by ambulance, but has a severe neurological injury, they said.

Warmbier was detained in January 2016 and sentenced to 15 years of hard labour in March the same year for trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan, according to North Korean media.

The elder Warmbier said he didn't believe North Korea's explanation that the coma resulted from botulism and a sleeping pill.

On Thursday, the State Department said that its special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, who negotiated Warmbier's release during a visit to the country this week, had also met with three other USA citizens being held in North Korea. Doctors treating him in the US said they found no evidence of botulism, but did find severe brain damage consistent with losing oxygen to the brain. "There is no excuse for any civilized nation to have kept his condition secret and denied him top-notch medical care for so long".

The Warmbiers were told just a week ago that their son contracted botulism and fell into a coma shortly after being arrested and sentenced, in March previous year.

Speaking at a press conference Thursday, Otto Warmbier's doctors said he is breathing on his own but does not consistently respond to verbal cues.

Three other Americans remain detained in North Korea.

Fred Warmbier (WORM'-bir) told Fox News' Tucker Carlson on Wednesday that his son, Otto, was "terrorized and brutalized" during his 17-month detention and has been in a coma for more than a year.

Fred also said ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman's ongoing trip to the reclusive country did not aide in his son's release.

'He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking, ' neurologist Daniel Kanter said on Thursday. After a trial that lasted about an hour, he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

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"We relied on this false premise that they would treat Otto fairly and let him go", he said. The US government accuses North Korea of using such detainees as political pawns.

He said he and his wife grew frustrated with the lack of progress and with the Obama administration's instructions not to talk about their son's case publicly out of concern it would upset the North and make a release less likely.

The travel company claims on its website that North Korea is "extremely safe!"

Warmbier is a University of Virginia student who arrived back home in OH on Tuesday in a coma.

FILE - In this March 16, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea.

This is the Otto I know and love. "That's not my goal right now", he said.

"Otto, I love you and I'm so insane about you, I'm so glad you're home, you are such a great guy", Fred said through tears during the press conference.

Meanwhile, the background process of how Warmbier got to be released brings attention to the possibility of dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang on the North Korean nuclear issue.

In 2015, Rodman's visits were captured by the documentary "Big Bang in Pyongyang", which features Rodman teaching basketball to North Korean players and singing "Happy Birthday" to Kim Jong Un.

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