Mourners remember USA student held prisoner by North Korea


Otto Warmbier - the 22-year-old University of Virginia student who was fatally injured while in the custody of the rogue state - was laid to rest in a ceremony that included projections of photos from his final days touring in Pyongyang in 2015.

The North's foreign ministry spokesman put the blame for Warmbier's death on the previous United States administration of Barack Obama which it said had "not even once" made an official request for his release.

The article published by the official Korean Central News Agency was Pyongyang's first reaction to Otto Warmbier's death in a US hospital on Monday after North Korea released him for what it said was humanitarian reasons. KCNA said North Korea dealt with him according to its domestic laws and worldwide standards.

For almost a decade, Young Pioneer Tours offered travelers from the United States and other countries the chance to see another side of North Korea. "I've never had a conversation with anyone than [the] likes of the one I had with [Warmbier's father] Fred Warmbier that day".

The North Koreans had told United States officials that Warmbier slipped in a coma after contracting botulism and taking a sleeping pill.

USA doctors say he suffered a "severe neurological injury", the most likely cause of which was a cardiopulmonary arrest that had cut the blood supply to the brain.

Some 2,500 mourners attended a Thursday morning memorial at Wyoming High School.

Warmbier was detained at the Pyongyang airport in January 2016 after a short tour of North Korea.

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"This is the place where Otto experienced some of the best moments of his young life, and he would be pleased to know that his return to the United States would be acknowledged on these grounds", he said.

USA doctors say there is no evidence he suffered from botulism, and the Warmbier family believe he died as a result of "awful torturous mistreatment". He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korea state media said.

As they reflect, there are many not just here but across the country, asking how North Korea will now pay for what many see as the murder of an American citizen.

He said he has "high expectations" for the upcoming summit with Mr Trump next week and said the priority the two leaders have placed on North Korea has raised the possibility the nuclear issue will be resolved.

As pallbearers carried Warmbier's casket out to the hearse, people outside the school stood in silence. Warmbier died on Monday, June 19. "There had not been any previous detainment in North Korea that has ended with such tragic finality and we have been struggling to process the result".

"It was not just my life he made more colorful, but everyone else's", she said.

"The family's objection to an autopsy was honored and only an external examination was performed", the coroner's office said in a statement Tuesday night.

"It doesn't matter where he was or what he was doing, he was always there for you whenever you needed him", Austin said of his older brother before the sea of gatherers. Not so much in North Korea. "The North Koreans need to be held to account for that".