Chicago: A long line of mourners waited to enter funeral services early on Thursday for Otto Warmbier, the US student imprisoned in North Korea who returned home last week in a coma that proved fatal.
The services were being held in his home state of Ohio, with the funeral at his former high school and burial at a Cincinnati cemetery.
Sentenced to hard labor for stealing a political poster from a North Korean hotel, the 22-year-old Warmbier was medically evacuated in a coma last week after nearly 18 months in captivity.
Suffering from severe brain damage, he died on Monday at a Cincinnati hospital. President Donald Trump slammed Warmbier's detention and eventual death as "a total disgrace."
The auditorium at the high school from which Warmbier graduated in 2013 was filled to capacity, with some 2,500 mourners in attendance, according to ABC television affiliate WCPO.
Speaking early on Thursday to assembled reporters across the street from Wyoming High School, US Senator Rob Portman of Ohio highlighted the community support that the Warmbier family has received during the tragedy.
"This process has been a window into both evil, and love and good. Today we're seeing the good, and the love that will be expressed through this outpouring of support for Otto and his family," Portman said.
Like other high-ranking US officials, Portman also criticized North Korea's treatment of Warmbier as "appalling."
"He never should have been detained in the first place," he said. "The North Koreans need to be held to account for that."
Secretary of defense Jim Mattis said Wednesday that US patience with Pyongyang is running out.
"To see a young man go over there healthy and, (after) a minor act of mischief, come home dead basically... this goes beyond any kind of understanding of law and order, of humanity, of responsibility toward any human being," Mattis said.
Published Date: Jun 22, 2017 19:52 PM | Updated Date: Jun 22, 2017 19:52 PM