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 insisting they are innocent and should be set free.
The court will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to support a murder charge against Siti Aisyah from Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam, who allegedly killed Kim Jong Nam using VX nerve agent in a brazen hit at Kuala Lumpur airport.
If there is, the trial — which started in October last year and has heard from dozens of prosecution witnesses — will continue with the court hearing the women’s defence. But if not, the judge may acquit the pair.
The women arrived at the court in Sham Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, under heavy police guard and wearing bullet proof vests, and were ushered past a pack of waiting journalists.
Their families insist they did not carry out the Cold War-style killing that shocked the world, and are hopeful they will be acquitted, although state prosecutors believe they have a strong case.
Huong “could never be a killer as she had always been a charming, hard-working girl”, Doan Van Thanh, the Vietnamese suspect’s father, told AFP at his home south of Hanoi.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who are on trial for the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader, are escorted as they revisit the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 in Sepang, Malaysia
The women are accused of killing Kim Jong Nam — once seen as an heir to the North Korean leadership and a rival to current leader Kim Jong Un — by smearing toxic VX on his face in February last year as he waited to board a flight to Macau.
The pair, who face death by hanging if found guilty, claim they fell victim to an elaborate plot hatched by North Korean agents and believed they were taking part in a prank for a reality TV show when they attacked Kim with a chemical classified as a weapon of mass destruction.