KUALA LUMPUR - The high profile Malaysian court case for the murder of North Korea’s Kim Jong Nam saw the magistrate court judge transferring the case to the High Court on Tuesday (May 30), after it was delayed twice due to the prosecution’s request for evidence and document compilation.
The case is now transferred to the Shah Alam High Court in Selangor with the upper court to fix a date for case management before proceeding to trial.
A lawyer representing North Korea was present to watch the brief. Jagjit Singh, was employed by the North Korean embassy to provide legal assistance. “All I do is report to the embassy,” he told reporters.
Mr Kim Jong Nam, the estranged elder half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un, was murdered at Malaysia’s airport on Feb 13 while waiting for his departing flight to Macau.
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Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong are charged with the murder. They face the death penalty if convicted.
At the court near the airport, both female suspects appeared dressed in the same attire as their last public appearance.
Their lawyers had argued for materials to be shared in preparation for defence but has yet to receive any response from authorities.
“The failure to disclose material documents to the defence at the earliest opportunity will undermine the defence case in many ways,” Siti Aisyah’s lawyer Gooi Soon Seng told the court.
Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad said all materials will be supplied to the defence before commencement of the trial.
“The proper way should be before the trial at the High Court, not here,” said Mr Iskandar.
The case sparked international furore over the motive behind Mr Kim’s murder via a poisonous nerve agent applied by the two women in custody. Both women had claimed that they were hired by unknown males as part of a television show prank.
The Indonesian Embassy’s councillor, Mr Yusron Ambry, said Siti Aisyah had requested in a letter she wrote last week that her family not visit her.
“Pray for me that this case be over soon and I’ll be home soon,” she wrote in a letter shown by Mr Yusron.
Malaysia had identified four other male suspects, who fled the country on the day Mr Kim was attacked, with their names later placed on an Interpol list. However, all four are believed to have gone back to Pyongyang.
Malaysia had deported three other men in connection to the case last month. The trio were holed up in the North Korean embassy before deportation, and were part of the negotiations between Malaysia and the regime to return nine Malaysians stuck in Pyongyang.
Mr Kim’s body was also expatriated back to North Korea after his immediate family members did not claim his body.
The case had caused relations to sour between two countries, with ambassadors from both sides declared as persona non grata.
North Korea did not acknowledge the deceased as Mr Kim, and had said the man died of natural causes.