Published: Thu, August 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Malaysia court to deliver key ruling in Kim Jong Nam murder trial

Malaysia court to deliver key ruling in Kim Jong Nam murder trial

Two women - Indonesian citizen Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong - stand accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 a year ago. He called for them to enter their defence after reading his ruling for more than two hours.

Two women accused of murdering the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could walk free Thursday, if a judge decides there's not enough evidence to proceed with their trial.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, who is on trial for the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, is escorted as she leaves at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia August 16, 2018.

The lawyers are confident the pair will be acquitted of murder, insisting that prosecutors have not shown they meant to kill Kim, who was heir apparent to the North Korean leadership before he fell from grace and went on to live in exile.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong were being accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam's face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur.

The women, both in their 20s, are the only suspects in custody and have pleaded not guilty, saying they thought they were involved in a prank for a reality TV show.

Lawyers for the two women have said their clients were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

The real culprits, the defence argues, are the four North Korean suspects.

Airport security footage shown in court captured the moment of the attack and prosecutors said linked the women to the other suspects.

But if not, the judge could acquit the women or amend the charge to something less serious than murder, which carries a mandatory death sentence in Malaysia.

The trial has seen CCTV footage of Huong coming up behind Kim as he waited to check in for his flight to Macau, and clasping her hands on his face.

In Vietnam, Huong's father, Doan Van Thanh, said he hoped the court would be fair.

News reports said Aisyah's lawyer Gooi Soon Seng told reporters they are deeply disappointed with the ruling.

"We will be calling witnesses from overseas and her home country to testify", he told reporters outside the High Court here.

"We respect the court's decision and will maintain she is innocent of this crime".

Kim Jong-nam was largely estranged from his family, after being bypassed for inheriting the leadership in favour of his younger half-brother, Kim Jong-un.

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