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  1. ITV Report

US student Otto Warmbier released by North Korea dies after returning home in coma

Otto Warmbier had been convicted of subversion in a trial in North Korea Credit: PA

An American student who was flown back to the US in a coma after being sentenced to 15 years hard labour in North Korea has died, his family has said.

Otto Warmbier, a University of Virginia undergraduate, died at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center less than a week after he returned to the US.

The 22-year-old was convicted of subversion and sentenced in a one-hour trial in North Korea's Supreme Court in March 2016 after admitting he had taken down a propaganda banner which he intended to give to a friend.

Soon after his trial Warmbier fell ill and his parents were later informed that he had fallen into a coma.

In a statement announcing their son's death, Warmbier's family said: "Unfortunately, the awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today."

US president Donald Trump reacted to the news saying that "bad things" happened in "brutal" North Korea, but at least Warmbier had died at home.

In an official press statement the president added: "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."

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has also reportedly condemned the neighbouring nation's treatment of Warmbier, telling US TV network CBS that "North Korea should be held responsible" for the death.

In an interview on CBS he said "cannot know for sure" North Korea killed the student but it was "quite clear they have a heavy responsibility".

North Korea had allowed Warmbier to be flown home earlier this month, a move that coincided with a visit to the country by the former NBA player Dennis Rodman.

It is unclear whether Rodman's visit had any influence on Pyongyang's decision. North Korea claimed it was freeing Warmbier on "humanitarian grounds".