Politics

Dead S Korean official didn’t want to defect to North: brother

Seoul, Sep 29 (efe-epa).- The brother of a South Korean official shot to death last week by North Korean troops when they found him adrift in their territorial waters said Tuesday that he does not believe the victim wanted to defect, as Seoul says.

Lee Rae-jin, brother of the official who died last week demanded Tuesday at a press conference held at the Seoul Foreign Correspondents Club an international investigation to clarify the “savage crime” against his brother given the contradictory versions both parties have given on the case.

He also asked Seoul and Pyongyang for efforts to recover his body from the waters of the Yellow Sea, as well as a more detailed version of what happened and greater transparency by the South Korean government.

“I would like to know what happened, how it was moving while it was still south of the western maritime border and also to find the body of my brother obtaining a precise explanation from the authorities,” Lee said.

The man also demanded an apology from the South Korean government for saying that his brother apparently wanted to defect, a version the Coast Guard supported Tuesday based on an investigation in which military intelligence and the direction of the currents on the day of his disappearance were analyzed.

“My little brother was a longtime captain and a patriot with a strong sense of duty who devoted himself body and soul to the country for eight years as a civil servant,” Lee said.

Seoul confirmed on Wednesday that the official, who disappeared Monday while working as first officer on a Ministry of Fisheries vessel near the maritime border in the Yellow Sea, had been shot dead by the northern army, which later incinerated his body.

For its part, Pyongyang defends that the man showed signs of wanting to flee and that they shot him and then proceeded to burn the “floating object” to which he was holding on (not his body), respecting at all times their border security and epidemiological protocols.

Lee participated in the initial search parties to find his brother and said the South Korean government did not deploy the necessary troops quickly enough to find him before he ventured into North Korean waters.

He also said the Seoul authorities have not made an effort to contact him and that for this reason he has learned many details through the media, something he said violates human rights. EFE-EPA

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