Otto Warmbier's Father Says North Korea Held His Son as a "War Criminal"

The parents of Otto Warmbier have spoken at a press event in Cincinnati on Thursday to share information about their son.

Warmbier was detained by North Korea in January 2016 and was released Tuesday. He returned to Cincinnati yesterday on a medevac flight and in a coma, having been "brutalized" by his captors, his father, Fred Warmbier, said in a statement.

Warmbier's parents have been fighting for the release of their son, a University of Virginia student, since his arrest.

North Korea sentenced Warmbier to 15 years of hard labor for stealing a banner as a joke. His parents found out he was in a coma just a week before he was released, something Fred Warmbier said threw him into a state of "shock." "I don't know what being in shock is, but I'm pretty sure I was," the father told assembled reporters in Cincinnati.

Fred Warmbier took to the podium wearing the same cream jacket his son wore during his confession in North Korea. According to reports, his son is stable but has "suffered from severe neurological injury," Warmbier's father said. "We're trying to make him as comfortable as we can."

During the press conference Fred Warmbier revealed President Trump had called him the previous night: "It was a really nice conversation. It was kind."

When asked whether Obama should have done more to secure his son's release, Warmbier said, "I think the results speak for themselves."

During his speech to press, Fred Warmbier called on North Korea to release other American prisoners, saying, "No other family should have to endure what the Warmbiers have."

Related: Who is Otto Warmbier?

Warmbier also expressed disbelief at North Korea's explanation for his son's condition. After the trial, North Korea alleged Otto Warmbier came down with botulism, which meant his captors had to give him a sleeping pill, and he never woke up. Warmbier said, "Otto was held as a war criminal. North Korea is a pariah regime. They're brutal, they're terroristic."

Fred Warmbier told the gathered reporters that he was proud of his son's adventurous side, the same adventurous nature that made him travel to North Korea in the first place.

Three other Americans remain incarcerated in North Korea, and there are huge efforts by the administration to have them released. The administration describes Warmbier's release as a Trump-led effort.

Otto Warmbier's Father Says North Korea Held His Son as a "War Criminal" | World