Trial in Kim Jong Nam's murder resumes in Malaysia
Shah Alam: Malaysia's high-profile trial of two women accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader resumed on Monday after a seven-week recess, with witnesses taking the stand to verify the authenticity of security camera footages capturing the attack. Indonesia's Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnam's Doan Thi Huong, 29, are accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam's face in a crowded airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur last February 13.
They pleaded not guilty to murder charges when their trial began October 2. The two are the only suspects in custody, though prosecutors have said four North Koreans who fled the country were also involved.
Prosecutors, who last year showed the security videos to the court, called three technicians from the airport and the airport hotel to the stand Monday to explain how they extracted the relevant images from the main computer server and copied them to discs. This was to enable the court to accept the footages as formal evidence. The court heard that the original footages in the main server have been automatically deleted after 30 days.
"Their whole case is based on the CCTV footages and VX, so the admissibility of the footages is very important. But they are taking a very simplistic approach and have failed to examine if the women have any motive," said Gooi Soon Seng, lawyer for Siti Aisyah.
Gooi has said Kim's killing was a political assassination because of the involvement of the North Korean Embassy. A police witness has testified that a car used to take the North Korean suspects to the airport on the day of the murder belonged to the embassy. The court also heard that an embassy official met the suspects before they fled and facilitated their check-in at the airport. If they are convicted, the two women could face the death penalty but not if they lacked intent to kill. That is their defense.
Defence lawyers say the women believed they were playing a prank for a hidden-camera TV show. Prosecutors contend the women knew they were handling poison. The court has heard that traces of VX were found on the women's clothing as well as on Huong's fingernails. An autopsy showed VX on Kim's face and in his eyes, blood and urine as well as on his clothing and bag. Doctors concluded the cause of death was "acute VX nerve agent poisoning," and ruled out any other contributing factors.