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Malaysia charges two women with killing Nam

01 Mar, 2017 16:36:02

International Desk:Malaysia on Wednesday charged two women — an Indonesian and a Vietnamese — with killing the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader in an assassination using a super-toxic nerve agent that killed in short minutes.

Siti Aishah, a 25-year-old mother of one from Jakarta, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from rural northern Vietnam, could be hanged if they are convicted for the killing of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13.

Police produced the two women before court handcuffed and wearing bullet-proof vests. No plea was filed after the charges were read out against them.

Aishah and Huong have told diplomats who went to them in custody that they were unwitting pawns in an assassination that US officials and South Korean intelligence have said was organised by North Korean agents.

The next court date will be on April 13, when prosecutors will apply for the accused to be tried jointly.

Kim Jong Nam, who had criticised the regime of his family and his half-brother Kim Jong Un, died after the two women allegedly smeared VX nerve agent, a chemical described by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction, across his face.

The charges against Aishah were read first, followed by those against Huong.

According to the charges the women and four unnamed people, who are still at large, were at the departure hall of the airport, with intention to murder the North Korean citizen.

One North Korean man, identified by police as Ri Jong Chol, is still in police custody and has not been charged yet.

Malaysian police arrested both women in the days after the attack. Security camera footage, which has been broadcast in the media, showed them assaulting Kim Jong Nam at the airport. He died within 20 minutes.

Both women have told diplomats from their countries that they had been paid to take part in what they believed was a prank for a reality television show.