North Korea has agreed to release the Malaysian hostages they have been holding for the past few weeks, in exchange for the body of Kim Jong Nam, brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
Kim Jong Nam was killed over a month ago at a Malaysian airport, when what turned out to be a hired call-girl sprayed a paralyzing poison agent in his face. His death was almost immediate. The two women responsible say they were hired by North Korean authorities, and tricked, thinking they were on a prank TV show, not knowing they were killing the brother of a dictator.
Malaysia had kept the body, and insisted on having their own trials for the women responsible. In response, North Korea had shut down the Malaysian embassy, keeping those inside as hostages.
The Daily Mail has more:
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Thursday that the body of Kim Jong Nam, half-brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the victim of a bizarre murder at Kuala Lumpur airport, has been released to North Korea at the request of his family.
Najib added that nine Malaysians – three diplomats and their six family members -who had been barred from leaving North Korea have been allowed to return to Malaysia.
‘They took off from Pyongyang today at 7.45pm Malaysian time, and will land in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow around 5am,’ he said in the statement which did not mention Kim Jong-Nam by name, referring to hims only as ‘the deceased’.
Kim, 45, was poisoned at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13 in a brazen Cold War-style assassination using a lethal nerve agent banned by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction.
Kim died within 20 minutes of the attack, before reaching the hospital.
Najib’s statement said: ‘In addition, following the completion of the autopsy on the deceased and receipt of a letter from his family requesting the remains be returned to North Korea, the coroner has approved the release of the body.’
The body is to be returned to family in North Korea, KCNA news agency said, adding that both countries would lift reciprocal bans on travel by citizens and guarantee their safety, letting the nine Malaysians now in Pyongyang return home.
Kim’s body was believed to be on Malaysia Airlines flight MH360 to Beijing, en route to North Korea.
The Malaysians left Pyongyang in a Royal Malaysian Air Force business jet, which headed immediately west out of North Korean airspace before turning south towards Malaysia, according to flight tracking website planefinder.net.
The agreement was reached after recent talks between North Korea and Malaysia in the capital, Kuala Lumpur, Najib’s statement added.