| KUALA LUMPUR
KUALA LUMPUR Malaysia on Wednesday charged two girls – an Indonesian and a Vietnamese – with murdering the estranged half brother of North Korea’s chief in an assassination utilizing a super-toxic nerve agent that killed in minutes.
Siti Aishah, a 25-year-old mom of 1 from Jakarta, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from rural northern Vietnam, might be hanged if they’re convicted for the killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur Worldwide Airport on Feb. 13.
Police introduced the 2 girls to courtroom handcuffed. As they left, they have been made to put on bullet-proof vests, reflecting Malaysian authorities’ fears that others concerned within the killing may need the ladies silenced.
No plea was recorded after the costs have been learn out towards them.
However, Aishah and Huong have advised diplomats who visited them in custody that they have been unwitting pawns in an assassination that U.S. officers and South Korean intelligence have stated was organized by North Korean brokers.
Huong’s lawyer advised reporters outdoors the courtroom that his consumer had advised him she was harmless.
“She denied. She denied. She stated ‘I am harmless’,” Selvam Shanmugam stated.
“After all, she’s positively distressed as a result of she is dealing with demise penalty,” he added.
The following courtroom date can be on April 13, when prosecutors will apply for the accused to be tried collectively.
Kim Jong Nam, who had criticized the regime of his household and his half-brother Kim Jong Un, died after the 2 girls allegedly smeared VX nerve agent, a chemical described by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, throughout his face.
He had been getting ready to catch a flight to Macau, the Chinese language territory the place he had been residing underneath Beijing’s safety since going into exile a number of years in the past.
In keeping with the costs the ladies and 4 unnamed individuals, who’re nonetheless at massive, have been within the airport departure, with the intention to homicide the North Korean citizen.
One North Korean man, recognized by police as Ri Jong Chol, remains to be in police custody and has not been charged but. Police have recognized seven different North Koreans needed in reference to the case, together with an embassy official in Kuala Lumpur.
Amid a bitter diplomatic row, members of Malaysia’s cupboard met with a excessive degree North Korean delegation that arrived on Tuesday to press for the discharge of the citizen in custody, and for the physique to be handed over.
Well being Minister Subramaniam Sathasivam advised reporters he was not at that assembly, however a call would ultimately be made on what to do with the physique as no subsequent of kin had come ahead for formal identification.
North Korea maintains the sufferer is a North Korean citizen, however denies he’s the half brother of its chief Kim Jong Un.
South Korea’s overseas minister advised a U.N. sponsored disarmament convention in Geneva on Tuesday that its unpredictable, nuclear-armed neighbor has 1000’s of tonnes of chemical weapons, together with VX.
Yun Byung-se referred to as for “collective measures” towards North Korea, together with doable suspension of its U.N. membership.
Safety digicam footage, which has been broadcast within the media, confirmed two girls assaulting Kim Jong Nam on the airport round 20 minutes earlier than he died.
Each girls have advised diplomats from their international locations that they’d believed they have been finishing up a prank for a actuality tv present. Indonesian diplomats stated Aishah advised them she was paid round $90 by whoever tricked her into participating.
Malaysian police have stated the suspects had washed their arms after the assault, and have been conscious that the liquid smeared on their sufferer’s face was poisonous.
Aishah’s lawyer, Gooi Quickly Seng was granted a gag order to restrain police and potential witnesses from making public statements that will incriminate his consumer.
Police detained Huong 48 hours after the homicide in the identical airport terminal the place Kim Jong Nam was killed. They recognized her because the dark-haired lady carrying a white shirt emblazoned with the acronym “LOL”, whose picture was caught by a safety digicam whereas ready for a taxi after the assault.
Showing in courtroom on Wednesday, Huong wore a yellow shirt and blue denims, and her wavy hair was dyed blonde.
Aishah was caught a day after Huong. Police stated she suffered a bout of vomiting whereas in custody that they stated was because of side-effects from publicity to the VX. Indonesian diplomats who visited her subsequently stated she was in good well being.
In courtroom, Aishah indicated that she understood the costs towards her. Sporting denims and a t-shirt, her solemn face framed by lengthy, darkish hair, Aishah nodded to Indonesian embassy officers as she left the courtroom.
“We hope that she will get a good trial, afforded all her authorized rights and never tried by the general public,” Indonesia’s overseas ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir advised Information in Jakarta.
(Extra reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor in JAKARTA; writing by Praveen Menon and A. Ananthalakshmi; enhancing by Simon Cameron-Moore)