2 women plead not guilty in N. Korean scion's assassination

Oct 03, 2017, 01:17
2 women plead not guilty in N. Korean scion's assassination

Two women have pleaded not guilty to murdering Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, as their trial in Malaysia got under way.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, are charged with the murder of Kim Jong-nam by covering his face with the chemical poison VX at Kuala Lumpur's worldwide airport on 13 February.

Drawing on interviews with a leading North Korean defector, diplomats, Kim Jong-nam's school friends and even a former North Korean secret agent, North Korea's Deadly Dictator sheds light on the inner workings of the Kim family, and how Kim Jong-un is trying to ensure his regime's survival.

The run-up to the trial has been marked by fierce criticism from the women's lawyers who say they are figures of convenience.

The case had caused a diplomatic crisis major between North Korea and Malaysia, one of the few allies of Pyongyang while the country's reclusive is in the crosshairs of the global community for its missile tests and nuclear weapons in violation of United Nations resolutions.

Doan and Siti - both wearing bullet-proof vests - were seen getting out of a police vehicle before they made their way into the courthouse.

Muhamad Iskandar said in proving that the two accused were the ones who committed the murder, the prosecution would present direct, circumstantial, expert, scientific and documentary evidence.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong (L) and Indonesian Siti Aishah are seen in this combination picture from undated handouts released by the Royal Malaysia Police to Reuters on February 19, 2017.

Siti and Doan along with four others still at large, were charged with the murder of Kim Chol, 45, at the KLIA2 departure hall at 9am on Feb 13 this year.

Earlier, the two accused had pleaded not guilty to the murder charge read to them before judge Datuk Azmi Ariffin.

Personalities north Korean with a party related to the case have fled to Malaysia immediately after the murder.

Defence lawyers argued the charge was ambiguous due to the failure to identify the four other suspects, and urged the court to reveal their identities.

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. He died en route to the hospital.

Defence lawyers are convinced the real culprits have left Malaysia and that the women's innocence will be proven in court.

They said they believed participating in a "hidden camera". Pyongyang denies the allegations.

But authorities also allowed three of them to leave the country in late March, in return for North Korea releasing nine Malaysian diplomats and their families.

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

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