Two women have gone to trial in Malaysia, accused of murdering the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong Un. Authorities said the pair used a nerve agent to kill Kim Jong Nam at an airport in February. One woman is Indonesian, the other Malaysian.
CGTN’s Rian Maelzer reports.
Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong arrived at a suburban court to face charges of first degree murder, knowing they face the death penalty if convicted.
The women and their lawyers maintain they were duped into the killing, saying the pair thought they were taking part in a reality TV show prank.
Both pleaded not guilty.
Jointly charged with the women are four others believed to be men from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. They fled immediately after the assassination and are still at large.
Police earlier referred to the men as the masterminds, but prosecutors are refusing to confirm their identities for the time being.
“Our clients were charged with four others of sharing common intention to cause the death of the deceased, so we are entitled to know their identities,” Hisyam The Poh Teik, a lawyer for Doan Thi Hoang, said. “The law says so. But the judge was not convinced.”
“These are things which they should have disclosed to give the defense a better understanding,” Gooi Soon Seng, a lawyer for Siti Aisyah, agreed. “This is what we call disclosure, and disclosure is an important part of a fair trial.”
Malaysia said it expelled the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ambassador on Saturday for refusing to apologize for his strong accusations over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the killing of the DPRK leader’s half brother.
The first two witnesses who appeared in court today were the first people to have come into contact with Kim Jong Nam after the attack. A defense lawyer says one was the woman working at the information counter Kim approached for help. The attorney says she took him to police officers.
Additionally, the court heard a nurse who treated Kim at a clinic with her bare hands.
“According to the witnesses, none of them suffered from any symptoms, so that’s the issue,” Gooi Soon Seng said. “If they had direct contact with the according to the nurse, she touched the face of the victim, and the face of the victim is supposed to have VX on his face.”
The prosecution is expected to finish calling their witnesses and presenting evidence by the end of November, at which point the judge will decide whether the accused have a case to answer. If so, it will be the defense’s turn to argue why the two women should be acquitted.