American Student, Otto Warmbier, Freed by North Korea

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Otto Warmbier being led by two North Korea guards after his sentencing in 2016

An American student, Otto Warmbier, who was sentenced to 15 years of forced labor in North Korea for stealing a poster from a hotel, has been released, the US Secretary of State said on Tuesday.

“Mr. Warmbier is on his way to the United States where he will be reunited with his family,” Rex Tillerson said in a statement.

According to the Washington Post, 22-year-old Otto Warmbier has been in a coma for more than a year after he had contracted botulism and underwent a medical evacuation.

He is expected in the evening of Tuesday in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Otto Warmbier was sentenced to 15 years of forced labor by the North Korean Supreme Court in March 2016 after he confessed to stealing a political slogan poster from a hotel in Pyongyang where he was housed during an organized trip.

American officials had urged North Korea to pardon him, considering the condemnation excessively harsh.