Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Cloudy prospects for Kim Jong-nam murder trial

The unexplained assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's estranged half-brother is unlikely to be resolved by Malaysia's politicized judiciary

The trial of two women accused of assassinating the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader commenced this week at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Malaysia’s capital.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, 28, are the only suspects in custody in a killing that South Korean intelligence officials have alleged was an elaborate plot coordinated by Pyongyang.

The pair are charged with murdering Kim Jong-nam at the Kuala Lumpur International airport this February 13 by smearing his face with a highly toxic VX nerve agent, a chemical the United Nations classifies as a weapon of mass destruction.

Both women maintain their innocence and say they were duped by North Korean handlers into believing they were carrying out a prank for a reality TV show.

Police acknowledged several North Koreans suspected of organizing the lethal poisoning had left Malaysia on the day of the attack, while others were permitted to exit in a subsequent diplomatic deal with Pyongyang.

Read the full story at the Asia Times.

Nile Bowie is a writer and journalist with the Asia Times covering current affairs in Singapore and Malaysia. He can be reached at nilebowie@gmail.com.