Two suspects on trial for Kim Jong Nam’s assassination

World Today

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, left, is escorted by police as she arrives for a court hearing at Shah Alam High Court in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. Malaysian court will rule on Thursday whether the two women, Siti Aisyah and Vietnam’s Doan Thi Huong, will be acquitted or call their defense, for the brazen assassination of North Korea leader’s half brother, Kim Jong Nam. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Ong)

The assassination of the DPRK leader’s half-brother is moving to trial. A judge in Malaysia said there’s enough evidence to try two of the suspects. Those suspects claim they were told – it was all part of a prank.

CGTN’s Rian Maelzer reports.

Almost exactly 18 months after Kim Jong Nam was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur’s budget air terminal, Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong this was the day they would have prayed they’d be acquitted of murder.

Instead, the judge ruled that the prosecution had established a prima facie case – in other words, that the evidence at this stage points to the women’s guilt. Doan and Siti Aisyah will now have to present their defence. Both have said they will testify.

“This is not the final decision of his Lordship. It’s only the end of the prima facie, end of the witnesses for the prosecution,” said Hisyam Tei Poh Tek, the lawyer for Doan Thi Huong. “so now the next state is the defence stage, that’s our version. So all is not lost. There’s still plenty of hope and we are confident.”

The judge said he didn’t think the actions of the two accused were consistent with being tricked. He said from airport CCTV footage, either women to looked tense immediately after the attack and rushed to the toilet, he believed to swiftly to wash the deadly VX nerve agent from their hands.

“Intention is a very difficult element to prove and the judge said that. He makes certain evaluations and makes certain inferences and he drew the inference that they had the intention. And we are not happy about that of course,” Gooi Soon Seng, the lawyer for Siti Aisyah, said. 

The judge said the evidence supported the charge that the women conspired with the four DPRK men who fled the country right afterward and whom police described as the masterminds and he didn’t rule out a political assassination.

Siti Aisyah broke down in tears after the judgment, and an official from the Indonesian embassy said they were shocked and disappointed but respected the judge’s decision. Siti Aisyah will start to mount her defense in November, with Doan due to give her side of the story starting in January. Both women face the death penalty if convicted.