Otto Warmbier, an American college student jailed in North Korea, has been released, according to his parents.
“He is being medivacked to the US. The brutalization and terrorism the North Koreans have put upon Otto and the Warmbier family have ended. Thank God,” they told CNN.
Warmbier was detained in January 2016 at the airport in Pyongyang on his way home from a visit to the reclusive country.
North Korean authorities said they had security footage of him trying to steal a banner containing a political slogan that was hanging from the walls of his Pyongyang hotel.
That was used as evidence in his hour-long trial, during which North Korea accused him of committing “hostile acts” against the regime at the urging of a purported member of a church in his home state of Ohio, a secretive university organization and the CIA.
He was found guilty and sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
The news of Warmbier’s release comes the same day as basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in Pyongyang for an expected four-night visit.
When asked if he would bring up the cases of Warmbier and three other Americans detained in North Korea, Rodman told reporters, “That’s not my purpose right now … My purpose is to go over there and try to see if I can keep bringing sports to North Korea.”