Fred Warmbier, the father of the American college student who was imprisoned by North Korea for a year and a half, addressed the public in a news conference Thursday morning. Otto Warmbier was serving a 15-year prison sentence with hard labor after being accused of trying to steal a propaganda banner.
Otto has been in a coma for more than a year, has extensive brain damage, and is unresponsive to his surroundings, according to the doctors treating him.
Via Fox News:
A medical team from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center described Otto Warmbier’s condition as a “state of unresponsive wakefulness” and did not say — at the request of his family — whether the 22-year-old will recover.
“He has spontaneous eye opening and blinking,” Dr. Daniel Kanter, director of the hospital’s neurocritical care program, told reporters Thursday. “However, he shows no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness to his surroundings.”
“He has not spoken,” Kanter said. “He has not engaged in purposeful movements or behaviors.”
“I would like to highlight this morning the bittersweet feeling that my family has. Relief that Otto is now home in the arms of those who love him, and anger that he was so brutally treated for so long,” Mr. Warmbier said. “We went for 15 months without a word from or about Otto. It was only a week ago that we were informed that the North Korean government now claims he was in a coma for almost all of that time.”
“When Otto was first taken we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release,” Warmbier said, pausing for a moment. “We did so without resolve,” he added.
“Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for ‘strategic patience’ was over and we made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with Ambassador Joe Yun at the State Department,” the father continued. “It is my understanding that Ambassador Yun and his team, at the direction of the president, aggressively pursued resolution of the situation. They have our thanks for bringing Otto home.”
According to Fox, Warmbier also had these words for the Obama administration:
Earlier, Otto’s father, Fred, dismissed whatever efforts were made on behalf of his son by the Obama administration, which asked the family to keep a low profile when news of Otto’s arrest became public.
“The results speak for themselves,” he said in a news conference, adding that President Trump, by contrast, reached out to him personally.
“Last evening, we received a very nice phone call from Pres. Trump, who told us that Sec. of State Tillerson worked hard to bring Otto home. We are extremely grateful for their efforts and concern,” he said.
Ace of Spades wonders whose interest was being served by having the Warmbiers stay mum about the case…