North Korea said on Friday the death of U.S. university student Otto Warmbier soon after his return home was a mystery and dismissed accusations that he had died because of torture and beating during his captivity as “groundless.”
The North’s foreign ministry spokesman said Warmbier was “a victim of the policy of strategic patience” of former U.S. President Barack Obama whose government never requested his release, according to comments carried by the official KCNA agency.
“The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S. … is a mystery to us as well,” KCNA quoted the spokesman as saying.
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Warmbier, 22, was arrested while visiting the reclusive country as a tourist. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, …