North Korea denies torturing American detainee Otto Warmbier

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Mourners turned out in droves to pay their final respects Thursday to Otto Warmbier, the USA student imprisoned for more than a year by North Korea and sent back home in a mysterious coma that proved fatal.

Pyongyang has criticized Washington for its handling of the death of a student who was returned to the United States after falling ill in custody, saying accusations that Otto Warmbier was tortured in North Korea are a pure "smear campaign".

In the first official reaction to his death, a spokesman for the National Reconciliation Council earlier Friday said that Warmbier was treated according to "international standards".

After Warmbier returned to OH, doctors determined he had suffered a "severe neurological injury" of unknown cause.

He was sentenced two months later to 15 years of hard labor for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korea state media said. In his memoir, Not Forgotten: The True Story of My Imprisonment in North Korea, he said how one interrogator kept telling him: "No one remembers you".

The agency accused Seoul of tarnishing Pyongyang's image with its "slanderous talk about cruel treatment and torture" while having no knowledge of the "humanitarian" treatment Mr Warmbier received in the North.

"The smear campaign against (North Korea) staged in the USA compels us to make firm determination that. we should further sharpen the blade of law", the foreign ministry spokesman said according to state media.

The spokesman also said that "groundless" speculation of torture and beatings could be refuted by American doctors who came to the North to examine Warmbier before his release and allegedly acknowledged that North Korean doctors had "brought him back alive" after his heart almost stopped. Mr Trump responded to 22-year-old Otto Warmbier's death by condemning the North as a "brutal regime", and he has himself described dictator Kim Jong-un as a "madman". "To make it clear, we are the biggest victim of this incident", he said, calling the accusations of abuse "groundless". Warmbier claimed to be a tourist.

NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman told ABC News on Friday that he felt like he was at least partially responsible for the release of American student Otto Warmbier, who died on Monday.

USA doctors say there is no evidence he suffered from botulism, and the Warmbier family believe he died as a result of "awful torturous mistreatment".

"Warmbier is a victim of policy of "strategic patience" of Obama who was engrossed in utmost hostility" against North Korea and refused to hold any dialogue, he said.

"The smear campaign against (North Korea) staged in the USA compels us to make firm determination that humanitarianism and benevolence for the enemy are a taboo and we should further sharpen the blade of law", the foreign ministry spokesman said in state media.

The comments, made in an article in the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper, came after an American student who had been jailed in North Korea died following a medical evacuation.

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