A nuclear scientist who defected from North Korea committed suicide in a jail cell rather than return to the hermit kingdom, according to reports.

The lead researcher at the physics center of the State Academy of Sciences in Pyongyang took poison hours before he was to be interrogated, according to Radio Free Asia.

“He killed himself only a few hours after he was placed in solitary confinement at the State Security Department in Sinuiju city,” the broadcaster reported, citing a source from North Hamgyong Province.

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