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Family of assassinated N.Korean defector requests state probe

Seoul, Nov 23 (IANS) The family of a prominent North Korean defector, who was assassinated in South Korea more than two decades ago, has formally asked a state reconciliation panel in Seoul to look into the truth behind his killing, a civic group official said on Tuesday.

In 1997, Lee Han-young, nephew of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's estranged wife Song Hye-rim, was shot by a North Korean agent in front of his apartment on the outskirts of Seoul, 15 years after he defected to the South, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Lee died 10 days after the incident.

Do Hee-youn, head of the Citizens' Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, said he submitted an application for a probe to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Monday on behalf of Lee's family.

His family members are seeking the recovery of their honour and that of the victim, as well as the North's apology, state compensation and measures to prevent the recurrence of such a case, according to Do.

Lee's wife had previously filed a suit against the state, demanding compensation for failing to protect him. The Supreme Court ruled in favour of the family in 2008.

Despite the ruling, the family argued that the country did not take "minimal measures" to restore the honour of the victim and the remaining family members.

The commission will decide whether to start the probe within 90 days after receiving the application.