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Siti Aisyah

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Two women who killed Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, will go on trial, after a judge said evidence suggested they knew what they were doing.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Thuong smeared the toxic nerve agent VX on Kim Jong-nam’s face in Kuala Lumpur airport last year.

However, the women deny murder, saying they were told they taking part in a TV prank.

Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Thuong could face the death penalty if convicted.

Four North Korean men also charged over the murder are still at large.

Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-un, had been waiting to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau on February 13, 2017, when two women approached him in the departure area.

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CCTV footage shows one woman placing her hands over his face before she and the other woman leave the scene.

Kim Jong-nam is then seen seeking medical help – he told staff a chemical had been sprayed on him.


He died on the way to hospital from what was later found to have been exposure to the VX, one of the most toxic of all known chemical agents.

Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong – both in their 20s – have said they were innocent victims of an elaborate North Korean plot.

Their lawyers say that in the days before Kim Jong-nam’s death, the women had been paid to take part in pranks where they wiped liquid on people at airports, hotels and shopping malls.

They thought the airport was just another prank.

Their lawyers had expressed confidence that the court would see they had no motive to kill Kim Jong-nam.

However, Judge Azmi Ariffin said there was enough evidence to suggest it was “a well-planned conspiracy between the women and the four North Koreans at large”.

He said there was no hidden crew and no attempt to bring the target in on the joke afterwards, and that the footage “showed that they had the knowledge that the liquid on their hands was toxic”.

They will now go on trial for murder and could be hanged if found guilty.

Kim Jong-nam was the older half-brother of Kim Jong-un.

He was once seen as a future leader of North Korea, but when his father died, was bypassed in favor of the younger Kim.

Kim Jong-nam was largely estranged from the family, and spent most of his time overseas in Macau, mainland China and Singapore.

He had spoken out in the past against his family’s dynastic control of North Korea and in a 2012 book was quoted as saying he believed his half-brother lacked leadership qualities.

North Korea has fiercely denied any involvement in the killing.

Four men – believed to be North Koreans who left Malaysia on the day of the murder – have also been charged in the case, but have not been found.

Judge Azmi Ariffin said on August 16: “I cannot rule out that this could be a political assassination. Despite that, I am unable to confirm this fact.”

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Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, the two women charged with killing Kim Jong-nam, are revisiting the crime scene in Malaysia.

They were at Kuala Lumpur airport on October 24.

Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong are accused of rubbing the highly toxic VX nerve agent on the face of the half-brother of North Korea’s leader as he waited for a flight.

The two women have pleaded not guilty to murder, saying it was a TV prank and they were tricked by North Korean agents.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the February 13 killing, but four men – believed to be four North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of murder – have also been charged in the case.

Image source Getty Images

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Kuala Lumpur International Airport was packed with journalists on October 24 as the women arrived, escorted by dozens of security officers.

Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong wore bullet proof vests, and were seen in wheelchairs at one point.

According to local media, they were accompanied by their lawyers and the judge presiding over the trial.

Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong are expected to visit the check in hall where Kim Jong-nam appeared to have been attacked, and the medical center where he sought assistance.

If found guilty, Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong face the death penalty. Their defense lawyers are likely to argue that the real culprits are the North Korean agents, who left Malaysia.

Kim Jong-nam, who was in his mid-40s, was the estranged older half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

At the time of his death, Kim Jong-nam was believed to have been living in self-imposed exile in Macau and was thought to have had some links to China.

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The two women suspected of murdering Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader, have pleaded not guilty at their trial in Malaysia.

The brazen nature of Kim Jong-nam’s killing, using the highly toxic VX nerve agent as he waited for a flight at Kuala Lumpur airport in February, shocked the world.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 29, and Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, are accused of rubbing the chemical on Kim Jong-nam’s face.

Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah say it was a TV prank and they were tricked by North Korean agents.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the killing, but in court prosecutors said that four men – believed to be four North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of murder – were also charged in the case.

The incident led to a bitter diplomatic row and strained the once cordial ties between North Korea and Malaysia, which expelled each other’s ambassadors.

The trial has been eight months in the making and the two women are the only suspects actually charged so far with the murder of Kim Jong-nam.

After the charges were read to them in court in Indonesian and Vietnamese, the two women entered their pleas through interpreters.

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If found guilty, the women face the death penalty. Their defense lawyers are likely to argue that the real culprits are North Korean agents, who left Malaysia.

However, in his opening remarks, the prosecutor said he aims to prove that the women, along with four people still at large, had the “common intention” to kill Kim Jong-nam.

The prosecutor said the women had carried out practice runs in Kuala Lumpur shopping malls before the attack, under the “supervision” of the four people, who were not named in court.

Dozens of witnesses, including airport staff who came into contact with Kim Jong-nam, are expected to take the stand in the trial which will run for weeks.

The murder is notable for its sheer audacity, taking place as it did mid-morning in full view of security cameras at Kuala Lumpur’s airport.

On February 13, the two women were seen threading through crowds of people and accosting Kim Jong-nam, before rubbing their hands on his face.

Then there was the speed with which Kim Jong-nam died. Immediately after the attack he sought help from airport staff, who led him to a clinic, but he collapsed and died just minutes later.

After a post-mortem examination, Malaysian authorities announced Kim Jong-nam had been killed by VX, a toxin so lethal that it is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

The two women, who were arrested days after the killing, have insisted that they were tricked by North Koreans into taking part in what they thought was a TV prank. Four North Korean men who fled Malaysia shortly after the incident are believed to suspects. In March, Interpol issued “red notices” for the North Koreans arrest.

Malaysia has named and questioned other North Koreans in relation to the case.

However, authorities also allowed three of them to leave the country in late March, in return for North Korea releasing nine Malaysian diplomats and their families.

Kim Jong-nam, who was in his mid-40s, was the estranged older half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

At the time of his death, Kim Jong-nam was believed to have been living in self-imposed exile in Macau and was thought to have had some links to China.

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The two women implicated in the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged brother of North Korea’s leader, are Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah.

Little is known about Doan Thi Huong and Siti Aisyah except that they had left their homes in different parts of Asia and were trying to make a living in Malaysia.

According to Malaysian police officials, Doan Thi Huong, a 28-year-old from Vietnam, is an “entertainment outlet employee” while Siti Aisyah, a 25-year-old from Indonesia, was working in a hotel massage parlor.

Doan Thi Huong’s Facebook page, in which she posted under the name Ruby Ruby, showed her posing in a number of selfies and glamour shots. There are rumors she once auditioned for Vietnam’s version of Pop Idol.

Image source Reuters

Her family said she left her home village in north Vietnam at 17 to study in the capital Hanoi, and had rarely returned home since. They said they were surprised to learn she was in Malaysia.

Her stepmother said that the family was fed up with all the attention they had received, but were grateful for the support of their neighbors.

Siti Aisyah was arrested for the killing along with her 26-year-old Malaysian boyfriend, who was later released on bail.

She told the Indonesian embassy officials that she thought she was taking part in a reality TV show, and had been paid 400 Malaysian ringgit ($90) to smear what she thought was baby oil on to Kim Jong-nam’s face.

Kim Jong-nam Assassination: Two Women to Be Charged with Murder

Siti Aisyah was out partying with her friends the night before the killing. A friend, who spoke anonymously, said they were celebrating her birthday, which had been the day before. Film footage purportedly from the evening shows her talking with friends about becoming an internet star.

Other suspects in Kim Jong-nam’s assassination are:

Ri Jong-chol, 47, is a North Korean who has lived in Malaysia for the last three years. He is in Malaysian detention.

The Malaysian boyfriend of Siti Aisyah, Muhammad Farid Jalaluddin, was arrested but police said he would be released on bail.

Hyon Kwang Song, 44, second secretary at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur is being sought by police. He is believed to be in the embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Kim Uk-il, 37, is a staff member of North Korea’s state airline Air Koryo, and is also believed to still be in Malaysia.

Ri Ju-u, 30, a North Korean also known as “James”, has been identified by the women as the man who recruited them.

Ri Ji-hyon, 33, a North Korean, is believed to have fled to Pyongyang.

Hong Song-hac, 34, a North Korean, is believed to have fled to Pyongyang.

O Jong-gil, 55, a North Korean, is believed to have fled to Pyongyang.

Ri Jae-nam, 57, a North Korean, is believed to have fled to Pyongyang.

Salvează

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Two women involved in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam are to be charged with murder on March 1, Malaysia’s prosecutor says.

Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali said the Indonesian and Vietnamese suspects would be formally charged and could face death if convicted.

They allegedly smeared a deadly chemical over Kim Jong-nam’s face at a Malaysia airport earlier this month.

The women have said they thought they were taking part in a TV prank.

Image source Getty Images

“They will be charged in court under Section 302 of the penal code,” the attorney general said, which is a murder charge with a mandatory death sentence if found guilty.

Mohamed Apandi Ali said no decision had yet been taken on whether to charge a North Korean man, Ri Jong-chol, who is also being held over the killing.

Kim Jong-nam Died in Pain Within 15-20 Minutes, Says Malaysia’s Health Minister

Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam and Siti Aisyah from Indonesia are among some ten suspects identified by Malaysia as being involved in the killing.

The other suspects include a senior official at the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur and a staff member of the state airline. South Korea believes at least four suspects are North Korean spies.

A high-level delegation from North Korea – led by the former ambassador to the UN – arrived in Kuala Lumpur on February 28.

They said they were seeking the retrieval of the body and the release of Ri Jong Chol, as well as the “development of friendly relationships” between North Korea and Malaysia.

North Korea has not confirmed that the person killed on February 13 at Kuala Lumpur airport was Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of leader Kim Jong-un, saying only he was a North Korean traveling on a diplomatic passport.

Kim Jong-nam, 42, was at a check-in desk for a flight to Macau, where he lives, when he was accosted.

Kim Jong-un’s brother was smeared with a very high amount of the toxic nerve agent VX and died in pain within 15-20 minutes, Malaysia’s health minister said on February 26.

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Siti Aisyah, an Indonesian woman who was arrested for the murder of Kim Jong-nam, has said she was given 400 Malaysian ringgits ($90) to carry out a prank.

Indonesian embassy officials met the 25-year-old on February 25 in Kuala Lumpur.

Siti Aisyah said she was given the cash to smear Kim Jong-nam’s face with “baby oil” as part of a reality show joke.

Tests show the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was killed with the highly toxic nerve agent VX.

VX is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations.

Kim Jong-nam died on February 13 after two women accosted him briefly in a check-in hall at Kuala Lumpur international airport.

Malaysian police have said that a sweep of the airport for toxic chemicals by a forensic team, the fire department and the Atomic Energy Licensing Board will take place from 01:00 on February 26.

There is widespread suspicion that North Korea was behind the attack, which it strongly denies.

A Vietnamese woman and a North Korean man have also been arrested in connection with the assassination of Kim Jong-nam. At least seven other suspects are wanted by police.

After a 30-minute meeting with Siti Aisyah on February 25, Indonesian Deputy Ambassador Andreano Erwin said: “She only said in general that somebody asked her to do this activity. She only said in general she met with some people who looked Japanese or Korean.

“According to her, that person gave her 400 ringgits to do this activity… She only said she was given a kind of oil, like baby oil.”

The officials said they did not see any physical signs that the suspect had been affected by the chemical.

Vietnamese officials also met their arrested national, Doan Thi Huong, 28, but made no comment.

Malaysia’s police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said on February 24 that the presence of the nerve agent had been detected in swabs taken from Kim Jong-nam’s eyes and face.

Kim Jong-nam had sought medical help at the airport, saying someone had splashed or sprayed him with liquid. He then had a seizure and died on the way to hospital.