Women to plead not guilty in high-profile Kim Nam murder trial
KUALA LUMPUR - Two women accused of killing the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader at the Kuala Lumpur international airport are expected to plead not guilty when their trial begins at a Malaysian court on Monday.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam, are charged with murdering Kim Jong Nam at the airport on February 13 by smearing his face with VX, a chemical the United Nations describes as a weapon of mass destruction.
The pair, however, have told their lawyers they did not know they were participating in a deadly attack and believed they were carrying out a prank for a reality TV show. They face the death penalty if convicted.
Monday’s much-anticipated trial is expected to run until November 30 at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital.
Lead prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad declined to comment on details of the case, but said between 30 and 40 witnesses, including 10 experts, would be called to testify.
South Korean and U.S. officials have said that Kim Jong Un’s regime was behind the murder.
Kim Jong Nam, who was living in exile in Macau, had criticised his family’s dynastic rule of North Korea and his brother had issued a standing order for his execution, according to some South Korean lawmakers.
Four other people, who have not been apprehended or named, have been charged along with Siti Aisyah and Huong. Four North Koreans, who police named as suspects in the case, left Kuala Lumpur for Pyongyang on the day of the killing.