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U. of Virginia Student Is Released by North Korea After Being Detained 17 Months

A University of Virginia student, Otto F. Warmbier, has been medically evacuated from North Korea in a coma, The Washington Post reports.

Mr. Warmbier, now 22, was arrested and detained in North Korea 17 months ago for “hostile acts against the state,” and was sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labor. He had been passing through Pyongyang, North Korea, on New Year’s Eve en route to Hong Kong for a study-abroad trip. While in a North Korean hotel, he had attempted to remove a propaganda sign from a staff-only floor, according to the Post, leading to his arrest.

Shortly after his last public appearance, at his trial in March 2016, Mr. Warmbier was allegedly given a sleeping pill after coming down with a case of botulism, according to North Korean officials, who said he had not woken up since then. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who announced Mr. Warmbier’s release in a written statement on Tuesday morning, has not commented on Mr. Warmbier’s medical condition.

Mr. Warmbier was evacuated through an American military base in Sapporo, Japan, and is scheduled to return to his home, in Cincinnati, on Tuesday evening. His release coincides with the former basketball player Dennis Rodman’s fifth visit to Pyongyang.

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