Two accused plead not guilty in Kim Jong Nam murder trial

by Garry Watts October 4, 2017, 0:10
Two accused plead not guilty in Kim Jong Nam murder trial

Indonesian 25-year-old Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong have been charged with killing Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13.

The women say they thought they were playing a harmless prank for a hidden-camera show.

The women face the death penalty if convicted.

"We are fairly confident that at the end of trial, they will probably be acquitted", Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, a lawyer representing Huong, said on Monday.

Kim was returning to Macau, where he had been living in self-imposed exile in the Chinese territory when the two women approached him and smeared VX nerve agent on his face and eyes, the court was told.

Airport staff brought Kim Jong Nam to see Zulkarnain after the victim said he was attacked by two women from behind.

Justice Azmi Ariffin told the witness to continue his testimony tomorrow.

Juliana, the first person Kim went to after being attacked, told the court "his hands were shaking a bit" but she didn't know why.

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North Korea has denied any role in the killing of Kim and has accused Malaysia of conspiring with its enemies prompting North Korean Ambassador Chol to reject a Malaysian autopsy that found Kim was killed with VX, a banned chemical weapon at the time.

HKL pathologist Dr Nor Ashikin Othman, 44, who conducted tests on Jong-Nam's blood sample said the condition could have been caused by either pesticide or the work of nerve agent. "He was closing his eyes tightly and his face was also very red", the physician testified.

The doctor said after intubation, the patient's blood pressure improved to a reading of 108/70, his pulse up to 90 to 100 beats per minute, and the oxygen saturation level to 94%.

He had been living overseas for years and at the time of his death was travelling on a North Korean diplomatic passport under the name "Kim Chol".

Their defence lawyers have said they will argue that the real culprits have left Malaysia.

The witness said this during cross-examination by lawyer Gooi Soon Seng on whether she agreed a low enzyme level could be due to taking female hormones. Two people who spoke to Aisyah while she was in custody said she believed the was rubbing a substance similar to baby oil or a lotion on Kim's face, as part of a prank.

Malaysia named several North Koreans, who fled the country shortly after the killing, in connection to the case.

Forensic Division chief, Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood said the post-mortem results showed no other factor as having caused the death, apart from acute VX nerve agent poisoning.

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