North Korea denies torturing American detainee

Otto Warmbier
FILE - In this March 16, 2016, file photo, American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea. Warmbier, an American college student who was released by North Korea in a coma last week after almost a year and a half in captivity, died Monday, June 19, his family said. (AP Photo/Jon Chol Jin, File)

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – North Korea has called itself the “biggest victim” in the death of an American student who was detained for more than a year and died days after being released in a coma.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency on Friday denied that North Korea cruelly treated or tortured Otto Warmbier and accused the United States and South Korea of a smear campaign that insulted what it called its “humanitarian” treatment of him.

Doctors in the United States who examined Warmbier after his release by North Korea said he had suffered a severe neurological injury from an unknown cause. Relatives say they were told the 22-year-old University of Virginia student had been in a coma since shortly after he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea in March 2016.

His family and others have blamed North Korea for his condition.

Warmbier was accused of stealing a propaganda poster. KCNA said North Korea dealt with him according to its domestic laws and international standards.

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