SHAH ALAM, Oct 2 – Two women accused of murdering Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader pleaded not guilty today at the start of their trial over the Cold War-style assassination that shocked the world. Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are suspected of smearing Kim Jong Nam’s face with banned VX nerve agent on 13 February at an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur.
Kim Jong Nam, who was aged in his mid-40s, had been waiting to board a plane to Macau at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (klia2) when he was poisoned. Jong-nam, who travelled with a passport bearing the name of Kim Chol died about 20 minutes later. The women entered their pleas through interpreters at Shah Alam High Court on the first day of the trial, which is expected to last for about two months.
The murder charge was read first to Aisyah, 25, who was wearing traditional Malay dress, in the Indonesian language. After conferring with an interpreter, the interpreter indicated she was pleading not guilty. The charge was then read to Huong, 29, who was wearing a blue jumper, in the Vietnamese language. Her interpreter also told the court she was pleading not guilty.
Both claim they were tricked into believing they were taking part in a prank for a hidden camera TV show but they could face the death penalty if found guilty of murder. The murder charge under Section 302 of the Penal Code carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction. — PN