Otto Warmbier, U.S. Student Freed From North Korea, Has 'Severe' Neurological Injury

His father said he was “brutalized and terrorized” by the North Korean regime.

CINCINNATI, June 15 (Reuters) - An American university student, who was detained for 17 months in North Korea and had fallen into a coma during that time, has a “severe” neurological injury, a hospital official said on Thursday.

Otto Warmbier, 22, is stable and receiving treatment at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, center spokeswoman Kelly Martin said at a news briefing at Warmbier’s high school in Wyoming, Ohio.

Warmbier, a University of Virginia student, was “brutalized and terrorized” by the North Korean regime, his father Fred Warmbier said at the news conference.

He added that the family did not believe North Korea’s story, that their son had fallen into a coma after contracting botulism and being given a sleeping pill.

“”We don’t believe anything they (North Korea) say,” Fred Warmbier said.

Otto Warmbier was sentenced in March 2016 to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item with a propaganda slogan, according to North Korean media.

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Additional reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Bernadette Baum)