Kim Jong-nam murder: 'Enough evidence' for women to go on trial

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong who is on trial for the killing of Kim Jong-nam is escorted by police as she arrives at the Shah Alam High Court

Two women - Indonesian citizen Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong - stand accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 past year. He called for them to enter their defense after reading his ruling for more than two hours.

On March 1 past year, Siti Aisyah and Doan were charged with murdering Jong Nam - the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - at klia2 on Feb 13. However, once Kim Jong Un took the reins, experts say the young North Korean leader would have seen his older brother as a threat.

Despite the evidence against them, the women's lawyers believed that prosecutors had not shown they meant to kill Kim, who had been living in exile for a decade since falling out of favour with the North's ruling family.

But if not, the judge could acquit the women or amend the charge to something less serious than murder, which carries a mandatory death sentence in Malaysia.

They could face the death penalty if convicted of murder.

The women's defence teams have argued the pair are simply scapegoats, with the authorities unable to catch the real killers, the North Koreans, and therefore desperate to secure some kind of conviction in the case.

Airport security footage shown in court captured the moment of the attack and prosecutors said linked the women to the other suspects.

The prosecution made closing arguments in June at a court on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, based on testimony from 34 witnesses. Traces of VX were also found on the women's clothing.

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While Azmi did not rule out the possibility that the killing could have been a political assassination, there was insufficient evidence to prove it, he added.

Kim Jong Nam's killing took place in February 2017, as tensions between North Korean and the worldwide community ramped up efforts to develop nuclear warheads and the ballistic missiles to deliver them to targets as far away as the U.S. mainland.

Lawyer Gooi Soon Seng represented accused Indonesian Siti Aisyah.

Indonesian Ambassador Rusdi Kirana told reporters that his government will abide by the ruling.

In Vietnam, Huong's father, Doan Van Thanh, said he hoped the court would be fair.

"She was tricked, and we all know that".

"She's an innocent girl and we believe the court will find the same", he told Reuters by telephone from his home in the northern province of Nam Dinh.

Pyongyang has denied accusations by South Korean and United States officials that Kim Jong-un's regime was behind the killing.

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