June 15, 2017 1:18 pm JST

North Korea releases American detainee on humanitarian grounds-KCNA

People, believed to be family members, embrace next to the medical transport plane carrying Otto Warmbier before he was transferred to an awaiting ambulance at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati, Ohio on June 13. © Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) -- North Korea said on Thursday it has released American Otto Warmbier "on humanitarian grounds" after he had been held prisoner for 17 months.

Warmbier, an American university student said to be in a coma according to his family, was medically evacuated from the reclusive country after a rare visit to North Korea by a high-level U.S. official.

The North's KCNA news agency said the release followed a court decision on Tuesday. It did not provide other details.

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