North Korea behind plot to kill Kim Jong-nam, court hears

North Korea behind plot to kill Kim Jong-nam, court hearsNorth Korea was behind an audacious plot to kill the estranged half-brother of dictator Kim Jong-un, the Malaysian prosecution in the trial over his murder alleged on Monday. Kim Jong-nam, 45, was publicly assassinated at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 by two young Asian women who smeared his face with VX, a chemical weapon the United Nations has described as a weapon of mass destruction. They have been charged with murder, along with four other unnamed people, who remain at large. The Malaysian police have named four North Koreans as suspects after they left Kuala Lumpur for Pyongyang on the day of the killing. Only the two female suspects, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam, appeared on Monday at the opening day of the trial at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, both wearing flak jackets. They have pleaded not guilty to the boldest political assassination in recent times, claiming they believed they were taking part in a TV prank show. Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of Kim Jong-un, in pictures They face the death penalty if convicted.   Opening the prosecution, Muhamad Iskander Ahmad rejected their version of events, claiming their actions showed their “intention to kill” and that they had practised for the hit beforehand. However, prosecutors have also accused the North Koreans of helping the women carry out several practice runs in Kuala Lumpur shopping malls before they attacked Kim as he checked in for a morning flight to Macau. “The prank practice carried out by the first and second accused with the supervision of the four who are still at large was preparation to see through their common intention to kill the victim,” the prosecution said in its charge sheet. Kim Jong-un | A history of executions – family, allies and rivals The women’s defence lawyers demanded in court that the prosecution immediately name the four other suspects so that they could prepare their case, but Judge Azmi Ariffin dismissed their request. Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, one of the lawyers representing Ms Huong, has said that the absence of the four North Korean suspects left a “big gap” in the prosecution’s case. Following the opening proceedings, he told The Telegraph the defence intended into blame North Korea during the course of the trial when “the appropriate witness takes the stand.” South Korea and the US have accused the North of murdering Kim, who had criticised the regime after falling out of favour with his father Kim Jong-il before his exile in Macau. It is believed his half-brother Kim Jong-un saw him as a potential threat to his rule. A Malaysian police officer who escorted Kim to the airport clinic was one of the first two witnesses to address the court on Monday. Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia Rusdi Kirana (C) speaks to journalists ahead of the trial of suspects in the assasination of North Korean leader's Kim Jong-un's half-brother  Credit: EPA Mohamad Zulkarnian, 31, gave a dramatic account of his final, agonising moments, his eyes red and surrounded by liquid, as he pleaded with the officer to “walk slow, my eyes are blurred.” Mr Zulkarnian waited outside the clinic as medical staff fought to save Kim’s life after he collapsed as the toxic VX nerve agent rapidly shut down his central nervous system. “I noticed the man slumped on a chair and the medical staff were giving emergency treatment,” he told the court. Juliana Idris, an airport information officer, and the first person Kim approached for help, was the second witness out of 30-40 expected to be called by the prosecution over the next few months. She testified that he told her two women had attacked him from behind. “His hands were shaking a bit, I don’t know why,” she said.



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