Kim Jong-nam was killed in Kuala Lumpur airport last month after he was exposed to the deadly VX nerve agent in an attack believed to have been masterminded by North Korea.
The following diplomatic row resulted in travel bans being issued by both Malaysia and North Korea despite their previously friendly ties.
The travel bans left nine Malaysians stranded in North Korea but after Kim Jong-nam’s body was returned to his native country, the group have now been allowed to return home.
They arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International airport early on Friday morning after travelling on a Royal Malaysian Air Force flight.
Meanwhile, Kim Jong-nam’s body is expected to be transported on on Malaysia Airlines flight MH360 to Beijing, en route to Pyongyang.
Mohd Nor Azrin Md Zain, a counsellor at the Malaysian embassy in Pyongyang, said: “We won’t deny that when the DPRK government imposed the travel ban which prevented [us] from leaving, we were very concerned especially since we had committed no wrong.
“During that time we were not particularly harassed by DPRK authorities. We were given the assurance that life could go on as normal.”
Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak, currently on an official visit to India, said in a statement: “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.”
North Korea has demanded the return of Kim Jong-nam’s body since news of his death emerged on February 13.
Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, had criticised the hermit state repeatedly and is believed to have lived in exile in Macau before his death.
Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s despotic leader, had issued an assassination order for his brother in 2012, although the attempt failed.
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