North Korea denies torturing U.S. student Warmbier

Pyongyang has criticized Washington for its handling of the death of a student who was returned to the United States after falling ill in custody, saying accusations that Otto Warmbier was tortured in North Korea are a pure "smear campaign".

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

In the first official reaction to his death, a spokesman for the National Reconciliation Council earlier on Friday said that Warmbier was treated according to "international standards".

Warmbier, who had been sentenced to 15 years hard labor by North Korea last March, died on Monday.

His family and others have blamed North Korea for his condition, saying he was "brutalised and terrorised by the pariah regime". Though his family said they were told Warmbier had fallen into the coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill, USA doctors believed that Warmbier had been beaten and suffered massive brain damage. KCNA said the North dealt with him according to its domestic laws and global standards.

However, both the State Department and Warmbier's father have said the former basketball star had nothing to do with Warmbier's release.

22-year-old American Otto Warmbier died less than a week after his return to the United States after almost a year and a half in North Korean detention. His family blames the North Korean authorities for his death. But U.S. doctors said they found no evidence of the illness.

"It's a total disgrace what happened to Otto", President Trump told reporters Tuesday.

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Warmbier returned home to OH on June 13 with severe neurological injuries.

A separate KCNA article published hours earlier criticised South Korea for using Warmbier's case to seek the release of other detainees, including six South Korean citizens.

Pyongyang said they arrested Warmbier as he was boarding his flight home because he had attempted to steal a propaganda banner.

The North previously released American detainees it had accused and convicted of crimes against the state on the occasion of high-level visits by US officials.

North Korea still holds Kim Sang Duk and Kim Hak-song, academics who worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, and a businessman named Kim Dong Chul. "It ain't about trying to release people", Rodman said.

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

Beyond demanding a full account of what happened to Warmbier, the USA has few options to respond - although there are three other US citizens being detained in the country, and any action has to weigh their safety and concerns of a backlash against them. "To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident".

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