Monday, 22 April, 2019

Women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam could be freed

Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong Key ruling due for women on trial in Kim Jong Nam killing
Deanna Wagner | 16 August, 2018, 15:23

A Malaysian judge will Thursday deliver a key ruling in the trial of two women accused of the assassination of the half-brother of North Korea's leader, with their families optimistic they will be cleared.

Kim Jong-nam died at Kuala Lumpur's airport past year after the toxic VX nerve agent was rubbed on his face.

The women are accused of smearing a deadly nerve agent on Mr Kim Jong Nam's face as he waited for a flight at a Kuala Lumpur airport.

Malaysian detectives tracked down two migrant women, one Vietnamese and one Indonesian, who they said were seen on CCTV carrying out the attack.

They claim the women were told by a group of North Koreans they were taking part in a prank TV show and thought the liquid was harmless.

Pyongyang has denied accusations by South Korean and USA officials that Kim Jong Un's regime was behind the killing.

Malaysian police later said VX nerve agent, classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations, was used in the attack.

An autopsy reveals that Mr Kim died from exposure to the VX nerve agent, an artificial chemical so deadly that it is banned under global treaty and classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

Their defense attorneys have described the incident as "a political assassination undertaken by North Korea", and painted their clients as unwitting dupes, noting that neither had fled following the assault.

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Huong's lawyers also said they did not expect the ruling. All are holed up at the North Korean embassy or have already left the country.

North Korea poured scorn on what it called "absurd" claims that VX was used, saying South Korea and the U.S. were mounting a smear campaign against it.

Pyongyang insists the dead man was called Kim Chol and demands his body be returned. I wanted her to be released today but if the court refuses what can I do? Malaysia retaliated and the global community called for calm amid allegations of hostage holding.

"We will extensively use her cautioned statement, which the court said has credibility", he said, referring to Doan's statement given to police on Feb 15 a year ago.

He said the prosecution had proven all elements in their case.

At the end of the month, Malaysia s then-Prime Minister Najib Razak announces an agreement has been reached to return the body to North Korea. Nine Malaysians stuck in Pyongyang were free to travel and North Koreans in Kuala Lumpur were allowed to go home. They maintain their innocence.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, who is on trial for the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, is escorted as she leaves at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 16, 2018.

Despite the evidence against them, the lawyers are confident the pair will be acquitted of murder.