Donald Trump has attacked Kim Jong-un’s ‘brutal regime’ following the death of American student Otto Warmbier shortly after he was released from a North Korean prison.
22-year-old Warmbier spent 15 months in a North Korean prison after being sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for attempting to steal a propaganda poster from a hotel in January 2016.
He returned to his family in Cincinnati, Ohio, on June 13 unable to communicate as it emerged he had been in a coma for over a year.
A statement from his family on Monday said:
It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home.
Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.
The White House released a statement shortly after which took aim at Kim Jong-un’s regime with Trump saying that he wants to stop the tragedies.
In it the U.S. President said:
Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing.
There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto’s family and friends, and all who loved him.
Otto’s fate deepens my Administration’s determination 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 United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 19, 2017
A team of U.S. doctors are disputing North Korea’s claims that it was botulism and a sleeping pill that led to Warmbier falling into a coma.
Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage but it remains unclear how he fell ill.
North Korea state that they sent the student home on humanitarian grounds, but his family says he was subjected to ‘awful torturous mistreatment’.
The economics student from the University of Virginia had travelled to North Korea as a tourist.
His death is very likely to have a negative impact on the already difficult relationship between the U.S. and North Korea.