CINCINNATI – There's been little public word about what has happened to an American college student detained by North Korea, as a new administration takes over one year later amid deep U.S. concerns about the hostile country's nuclear and missile development.
North Korea announced last Jan. 22 it had detained Otto Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from suburban Cincinnati, for alleged anti-state crime. Warmbier was sentenced in March to 15 years in prison at hard labor after a televised public confession to trying to steal a propaganda banner.
A range of U.S. authorities has urged his release on humanitarian grounds.
The State Department says it continues to actively work for his earliest possible release, calling his punishment "unduly harsh" and that it's clear such detainees are used for political purposes.