Donald Trump has condemned North Korea, describing them as "brutal regime" following the death of a US student who had been imprisoned there for 15 months.

Otto Warmbier, 22, was returned to the US last week for "humanitarian reasons", after it was revealed he had been in a coma for more than a year.

Warmbier, an economics student from the University of Virginia, was given a 15-year prison sentence after attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.

Speaking from the White House Trump said: "He spent a year and half in North Korea, a lot of bad things happened, but at least we got him home to be with his parents.

"They were so happy to see him even though he was in a tough condition. It's a brutal regime and we'll be able to handle it."

Warmbier's parents announced their son's death in a statement on Monday evening (19 June), saying that he had been subjected to "awful torturous mistreatment" adding they were glad he "completed his journey home".

A joint statement was released on behalf of Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump: "Melania and I offer our deepest condolences to the family of Otto Warmbier on his untimely passing.

"There is nothing more tragic for a parent than to lose a child in the prime of life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Otto's family and friends, and all who loved him.

"Otto's fate deepens my Administration's determination to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency.

"The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim."

North Korea had said that Warmbier was suffering from botulism, and illness that causes paralysis, and as a treatment he was given a sleeping pill from which he never woke.

But after he was returned the US, doctors cast doubt on this, finding no signs of botulism.

Three other US nationals are still being held by the Kim Jong-un administration. Two of them were teachers at a private school while the third person worked in a special economic zone in North Korea.

It is believed that North Korea has been using the detentions as a bargaining chip in its negotiations with Washington. The US wants North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un to abandon his nuclear and missile programmes.