Women accused of killing North Korean leader's brother plead not guilty

Casey Dawson
October 4, 2017

Kim, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was allegedly poisoned with VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February on his way back to his home in the Chinese territory of Macau.

Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong, 28, wearing a bulletproof vest while being led out of the Shah Alam High Court, October 3, 2017, during the second day of the Kim Jong-nam murder trial.

The trial, one of the highest-profile court cases in Malaysia in decades, is likely to last for months and will be monitored closely for any insight into how North Korea and its security service operates.

"And one of those moments - perhaps its most spectacular moment - was the assassination of Kim Jong-nam".

Mr. Kim at the time of his death was in his mid-forties, and was estranged elder half-brother to the North Korean young leader.

He died on the way to Putrajaya Hospital from klia2, sparking a diplomatic row between Putrajaya and Pyongyang.

If convicted, they face the death penalty by hanging. His eyes were red and the police officer said he could still see some liquid on Kim's face.

However, both women have said they thought they were playing a harmless prank for a hidden-camera show, with Aisyah saying she was paid £73 to do it.

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At that point, the suspect "fled on foot", and a few hours later, he barreled down a nearby street in a U-Haul truck. Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht said Sunday morning the suspect was in custody and they believe he acted alone .

The women, both in their 20s, are accused of rubbing toxic VX nerve agent in his face.

The court heard the testimony of airport worker Juliana Idris and Police Lance Corporal Mohd Zulkarnain Sanudin, who saw Kim before he died in the airport clinic.

Earlier, airport clinic doctor Nik Mohamad Adzrul Ariff Raja Azlan testified Kim suffered from sudden respiratory failure that caused his heart to eventually stop.

He said Kim then fell unconscious, his blood pressure dropped to 70/40, and then his pulse was lost. Pyongyang officials also refused to identify the body of the assassinated man as that of Kim Jong Nam, who was carrying a passport bearing the name of Kim Chol when he was fatally attacked.

Chemical pathologist Dr Norashikin Othman said VX nerve agent may not be the only reason why there is a low amount of enzyme in a person's blood.

Before the trial began, Aisyah's lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said the core defence will be that she didn't know she had poison on her hand when she smeared Kim's face and was instead the victim of an elaborate trick, Japan Times reported (via the Associated Press).

After the incident, Kim Jong Nam developed a reputation as something of a playboy - but also as a critic of his family's rule.

Their lawyers blame North Korean agents. They argue that their clients, who were living precarious existences among Malaysia's army of migrant workers, are simply taking the rap.

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