The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wanted to defect to the West when he was murdered earlier this year, a new documentary claims.
Kim Jong-nam said shortly before his death in February that he wanted to move to Europe and become a European citizen amid growing fears for his safety, friends told the BBC in a documentary broadcast on Sunday.
Mr Kim reportedly said he wanted to move to Switzerland, where he spent his childhood at an International School, in search of a time when he had “nothing to be afraid of.”
“He [Kim Jong-nam] text me a message saying I’ll see you in Geneva, I’ll be back in 3 days,” Mischa Aznavour, a school friend of Mr Kim, said in the film.
“He was, like, coming back to Geneva to, err, search back all his youth, like, part of a time where we had nothing to think about, nothing to be afraid of.”
Anthony Sahakian, another school friend said Mr Kim had "let down his guard" while visiting Europe.
“He felt more safe and more secure here, especially in Switzerland," Mr Sahakian said. “Was he worried? Yeah, would he be talking about moving to Europe if he wasn’t slightly worried? Probably.”
Mr Kim, 45, died when two women smeared VX nerve agent on his face while he waited for a flight at Kuala Lumpa airport.
Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong have denied murder, saying they had been duped into duped into believing they were part of a reality TV show.
The murder is widely believed to have been ordered by the North Korean government. Malaysian police said four North Korean suspects fled the country on the day of the murder.
Malaysian police initially arrested Ri Jong Choi, a North Korean citizen, as a suspect in the murder. He was later deported after the attorney general said there was insufficient evidence to charge him
Pyongyang has denied involvement in the killing.
North Korea: Murder in the Family will be broadcast on BBC at 9 PM on Sunday.