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Trial Opens for Women Accused of Killing Half-Brother of Kim Jong Un

04 October 2017, 12:29 | Myrtle Vega

The two women 'pawns' facing death penalty over assassination of Kim Jong-un's brother

Kim Jong-nam murder trial begins today

Two women have pleaded not guilty to the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, at the start of their trial in Malaysia.

The two accused, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, arrived at the court grounds at 7.50am in one of five police vehicles under heavy guard by armed personnel in bullet-proof attire.

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.

Monday's testimony reconstructed Kim Jong Nam's final moments at the airport, while Tuesday's session focused on the cause of death.

Pyongyang has denied any role in the killing and hasn't even acknowledged the dead man was Kim Jong Nam.

Those three had been holed up in the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

During the opening statement on Monday, the prosecution said it would prove that the two women approached Jong Nam at the airport's departure hall and sprayed VX nerve agent on his eyes and face.

The prosecutor said that before the murder Siti and Doan had carried out "simulations" which were "overseen by the four who are still free". They claim they did not know they were participating in an assassination and were told they were partaking in a prank for a reality TV show.

North Korea has a history of ordering killings of people it views as threats to its regime and its chemical weapons arsenal is believed to include the banned VX nerve agent.

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Witness Nik Mohamad Adzrul Ariff, a doctor who was on duty at the airport clinic when Mr Kim was brought in, described how the victim's health deteriorated rapidly.

"I opened the door for him to enter the clinic", said L/Kpl Mohd Zulkarnain, adding that he waited outside.

He said Kim then fell unconscious, his blood pressure dropped to 70/40, and then his pulse was lost.

Kim weighed 96 kilograms and had tattoos on his chest, arms and back, including a coloured dragon head breathing fire and a man with two fish-like figures, the report said.

They are accused of spreading a poison on Kim Jong Nam's face to kill him.

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.

A mixture of blood, vomit, and saliva was oozing from the mouth of North Korean Kim Jong-nam as he was being treated at a medical clinic in KL International Airport 2 (KLIA2), the High Court was told.

Their defence lawyers have also said that Huong and Aisyah are innocent and the real killers have in fact left Malaysia.

"Based on the post-mortem examination findings, supporting clinical history and positive laboratory investigation results, I am of the opinion that the cause of death was VX (nerve agent) poisoning following acute onset exposure", he said.

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