Kim Jong Nam murder trial set to resume after months of delay

Siti Aisyah (centre) and Doan Thi Huong (top, centre) are escorted by Malaysian police after a special court session to rule on witness statements, on Dec 14, 2018 for their alleged role in the assassination of Kim Jong Nam.
Siti Aisyah (centre) and Doan Thi Huong (top, centre) are escorted by Malaysian police after a special court session to rule on witness statements, on Dec 14, 2018 for their alleged role in the assassination of Kim Jong Nam.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (DPA) - The trial of two women accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is set to restart on Monday (March 11), six months after a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for their involvement in the murder

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, 30, and Indonesian national Siti Aisyah, 27, were captured on closed-circuit television cameras smearing VX nerve agent on Mr Kim Jong Nam's face at a Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

VX, or Venomous Agent X, is a deadly poison that was developed for military use for chemical warfare, and is classified as a weapon of mass destruction.

The women are expected to provide their testimony after a judge ordered in August 2017 that the trial proceed to the defence stages, ruling there were sufficient grounds to believe they had engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" with four other North Korean suspects still at large.

Both women have maintained their innocence, claiming they believed they were carrying out a prank for a reality TV show in exchange for money, and that they had been tricked by handlers who were North Korean agents.

However, prosecutors have argued that the duo are trained assassins who were aware of the toxicity of the substance they were handling, pointing to how both suspects headed to separate bathrooms immediately after the attack.

If convicted, both women face death by hanging. The Malaysian government is considering abolishing capital punishment for all crimes, however it is uncertain if the changes will be implemented before the sentence is handed down.