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North Korea Wants to Block New Autopsy on Leader’s Half-Brother

The North Korean government has objected to the investigation into the death of the half-brother of North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un, saying autopsies are unnecessary because the man died of a heart attack.

Kim Jong Nam died Monday after apparently being attacked at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Associated Press quoted a senior Malaysian official as saying that a second autopsy would be carried out Saturday because the results of the first one were inconclusive.

Image: Kim Jong Un, Kim Jong Nam
Kim Jong Un, left, and his older half-brother, Kim Jong Nam AFP / Getty Images

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media.

Intelligence agencies in South Korea believe the dictator's half-brother was killed by two women in an attack at the airport.

But Kang Chol,the North Korean ambassador to Malaysia, suggested that Malaysian authorities were being drawn into a plot to damage North Korea's image.

"They said that they should conduct a post-mortem on him in order to clarify the cause of the death," the ambassador said. "And we rejected it because they said that he was dead due to a heart attack. So that's why, if it is heart attack, there is no reason and no necessity to conduct a post-mortem. But they forced the post-mortem without permission and without attendants from our side."

Image: North Korean leader's half brother murdered in Malaysia
Malaysian policemen guard the entrance to Forensic Department, where the body of Kim Jong-nam rests, at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital. AHMAD YUSNI / EPA

He said the South Korean government was trying to damage North Korea's international standing.

"So we strongly urge and demand the Malaysian side not to be entangled with the political plot by the hostile forces," the ambassador said. He demanded that Malaysia release Kim Jong Nam's body at once.

Here's what else we know about the case so far:

  • Two women are alleged to have approached Kim in the airport while he was waiting for a flight, and used needles, spray or a chemical-soaked cloth to poison him before fleeing in a taxi. Kim managed to make it to a desk to ask for help but died before reaching the hospital.
  • Late Friday, Malaysian police arrested a North Korean man in connection with the death. They identified him as 46-year-old Ri Jong Chol.
  • That brought the total number of arrests to four.
  • In addition to the North Korean man, two women who are alleged to have carried out the attack — a 28-year-old with Vietnamese travel documents and a 25-year-old with Indonesian documents — have been arrested.
  • A 26-year-old Malaysian man, said by police to be the boyfriend of the Indonesian woman, has been arrested, as well.
  • The family of the Indonesian woman, Siti Aishah, says she thought she was going to Malaysia for a prank TV show on which she would surprise people by spraying them with perfume.