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Kim Jong-Nam murder case: Defense lawyer falls ill, trial delayed

The trial of two women for allegedly assassinating Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, will resume in January 2019 instead of this month, after a defense lawyer fell ill.

Siti Aisyah from Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam are accused of murdering Kim Jong-nam by smearing nerve agent VX on his face at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

The pair went on trial in October 2017 but proceedings have moved slowly due to the large number of witnesses, and the fact that hearings are held relatively infrequently under Malaysian court system.

In August, a judge ruled that the case was strong enough for the trial to continue, and it was scheduled to resume in November beginning with Aisyah to offer her defense. Defense lawyers urged court for police help in their case .

However, the proceedings will now restart on January 7, after Aisyah’s main lawyer Gooi Soon Seng fell ill.

The accused women have denied murder, claiming they were tricked into killing the estranged half-brother of Kim Jong-un by North Korean agents and believed they were taking part in a prank for a reality TV show.

But prosecutors, who likened the murder to the plot of a ‘James Bond’ movie, have argued the pair were well-trained assassins who knew exactly what they were doing.

Under current Malaysian laws, the women, in their 20s, will be sentenced to death by hanging if convicted of murder. However, on October 10 this year, the new Malaysian government, under Prime Minister Mahathir Bin Mohamad, had vowed to abolish capital punishment for all crimes.


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