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The assassination of Kim Jong-nam

16 August 2018

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, face the death penalty on charges of murdering Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with VX, a nerve agent banned by the United Nations, at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 previous year.

The pair, who could 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.

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. He called for them to enter their defense after reading his ruling for more than two hours.

Mr. Azmi said that while he "can't rule out this could be political assassination" there was insufficient evidence to prove it. "Despite that, I am unable to confirm this fact".

Both women arrived at the high court on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital handcuffed and wearing bulletproof vests, to be escorted into the courtroom by gun-wielding policemen.

Lawyers acting for the Vietnamese accused in North Korean Kim Jong Nam's murder case say foreign witnesses are important in her trial.

Aisyah's lawyer Gooi Soon Seng told reporters: "We are deeply disappointed with the ruling".

(From right to left) Lawyers Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, Salim Bashir and Naran Singh who represented Vietnamese accused Doan Thi Huong.

"We will do our best at the defence stage". "It does not mean they are found guilty, it just means that he (the judge) found that the prosecution have proven there is a prima facie case".

Prosecutors pointed to Doan's behavior after the incident as a key piece of evidence, arguing she raced to wash her hands because she knew there was a unsafe substance on them.

Airport security footage shown in court captured the moment of the attack and prosecutors said linked the women to the other suspects. I wanted her to be released today but if the court refuses what can I do?

Despite the evidence against them, the women's lawyers believed that prosecutors had not shown they meant to kill Kim, who had been living in exile for a decade since falling out of favour with the North's ruling family.

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.

The trial at the Shah Alam High Court, outside Kuala Lumpur, heard that four North Koreans recruited the pair and were the masterminds, providing them with the poison on the day of the murder before flying out of the country.

In June, Malaysia said it planned to reopen its embassy in Pyongyang, suggesting an end to the rift in once-close diplomatic ties that followed the killing.

Video recordings played in court showed them meeting two of the fugitives at the airport before the attack.

The assassination of Kim Jong-nam