Little is known on status of US student held in North Korea

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American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. North Korea's highest court sentenced Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student, from Wyoming, Ohio, to 15 years in prison with hard labor on Wednesday for subversion. He allegedly attempted to steal a propaganda banner from a restricted area of his hotel at the request of an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church.  Jon Chol Jin/AP
American student Otto Warmbier, center, is escorted at the Supreme Court in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. North Korea's highest court sentenced Warmbier, a 21-year-old University of Virginia undergraduate student, from Wyoming, Ohio, to 15 years in prison with hard labor on Wednesday for subversion. He allegedly attempted to steal a propaganda banner from a restricted area of his hotel at the request of an acquaintance who wanted to hang it in her church. Jon Chol Jin/AP

Little is known on status of US student held in North Korea

by: Dan Sewell | .
Associated Press | .
published: January 24, 2017

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.

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