Two women accused of Kim Jong Nam airport assassination plead not guilty

THE defence in the murder trial of Kim Jong-nam has failed to get the prosecution to list the names of four North Koreans in the charge sheet along with two women accused of murdering the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, a Vietnamese, are charged with killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX, a chemical poison banned by the United Nations, at Kuala Lumpur's global airport on February 13.

Kim Jong-nam had been critical of his brother and of the North Korean state, telling a Japanese journalist that the dynastic succession "was a joke" and that the "Kim Jong-un regime will not last long". She said Kim told her "he was attacked from behind by two women", with one of them wiping something over his eyes.

Prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad read a statement giving details of Kim's murder allegedly carried out by the two suspects who both wore bullet-proof vests after they were led into the court on the outskirts of Malaysia's largest city.

The murder sparked an angry row between North Korea and Malaysia with both countries expelling each other's ambassadors.

"The prosecution will rely on direct, circumstantial, scientific and documented evidence provided by specialists and several other related evidence that will be produced before the court to link the accused and the four others with the death of Jong-nam", he said.

The prosecution said the actions of the women, as well as the four other suspects, showed an "intent to kill the victim" by smearing Kim Jong-nam's face and eyes with the poison.

The murder charge was read to Aisyah, 25, and Huong, 29, in their native languages and interpreters indicated they were pleading not guilty.

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Zuliana Idris, who worked as an information clerk at Kuala Lumpur airport, described how Mr Kim asked in English to be taken to a police station.

They said they believed participating in a "hidden camera".

However, each's identity will be revealed as the trial continues.

While Kim Jong Nam was not thought to be seeking influence, his status as eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's founding family could have made him appear to be a danger to his half brother's rule.

Their defence lawyers have also said that Huong and Aisyah are innocent and the real killers have in fact left Malaysia.

From the beginning of the case, South Korea has accused the North of having orchestrated the assassination, what Pyongyang has always denied. Three others who holed up inside North Korea's embassy were allowed to leave in a deal with Pyongyang to ease tensions, despite Malaysia's anger at the public use of a chemical weapon on its territory.

The trial is expected to run until Nov 30 and the prosecution is expected to call up to 40 witnesses.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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