MALAYSIA’S high-profile trial of two women accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un went into recess yesterday until January 22.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are accused of smearing a nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face in a crowded airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur on February 13.
The two are the only suspects in custody, though prosecutors claim four North Koreans who have since fled to Pyongyang were involved.
Prosecutors have focused on proving the women’s guilt but shied away from looking at any political motive. The women’s lawyers say their clients were duped and want to shift the focus of the trial when it resumes.
So far, the court has heard that Kim Jong Nam was approached by two women, who appear to smear something on his face. He then suffered seizures and was dead within two hours.
An autopsy showed the banned VX nerve agent was found on and inside Mr Kim. He had severe organ damage. Doctors ruled that his death was the result of “acute VX nerve agent poisoning.”
However, Mr Kim was carrying a dozen vials of the antidote atropine in his bag, but without the syringes needed to use it.
The two young women face the death penalty if convicted, but, under Malaysian law, they can’t be sentenced to die if they didn’t have intent to kill.
VX was found on their clothes and they were recorded rushing to wash their hands — the poison can be washed off the palm within 15 minutes.
Their lawyers claim the women thought they were playing a prank for a hidden camera show and didn’t try to flee or discard their clothes.