Monday, 24 September, 2018

Malaysian Judge says Korean killing was political

Siti Aisyah left and Doan Thi Huong are accused of assassinating Kim Jong Nam with nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur airport Key ruling due for women on trial in Kim Jong Nam killing
Steven Clarke | 16 August, 2018, 15:20

They contend the women were duped by a group of North Koreans into thinking they were participating in a prank television show and thought the liquid was harmless.

Earlier in the court, Aisyah's lawyer Gooi Soon Seng had criticized his counterparts for only presenting security footage in edited parts during the trial.

Ariffin said he believed the prosecution provided sufficient evidence in court to prove that Kim was killed by VX.

A Malaysian judge on Thursday ruled that a trial against two women charged with the murder of the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would continue, and asked them to enter their defence.

"She was tricked, and we all know that".

If found guilty, they would face the death penalty.

When the trial resumes on November 1, Indonesian suspect Siti will be the first witness to testify, the Associated Press reports.

There was no clear footage of Siti Aisyah smearing Kim's face.

Defense lawyers say the killing was politically motivated, with many key suspects linked to the North Korean embassy in the Malaysian capital, suggesting the women were simply pawns.

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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.

An autopsy reveals Kim died from exposure to the VX nerve agent, an artificial chemical so deadly it is banned under global treaty and classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

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.

But the judge said their intention to kill can be inferred from targeting Kim's eyes, where the nerve agent would penetrate faster.

Salim Bashir, one of Doan's lawyers, said he wanted the AG to initiate assistance under the Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) Act for help to record statements from witnesses to testify in Doan's murder case.

"There is no slightest doubt in my mind that it can be inferred that their desperate act of rushing to the toilet was exclusively for the goal to decontaminate the poisonous VX on their hands", Azmi said.

"The onus is on the accused to explain their conduct", he added.

The judge said the four North Koreans played a "substantial role" and were "part of the chain that led to the murder" of Kim.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, confirmed that the Russian president had sent the invitation to Mr Kim as part of a congratulatory telegram on the 73rd anniversary of North Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule. However, once Kim Jong Un took the reins, experts say the young North Korean leader would have seen his older brother as a threat.

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