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.