Two Women Charged With Kim Jong-nam’s Murder Could Face Death Sentences

Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was murdered in Malaysia

Two women, from Indonesia and Vietnam are to be charged with murder of Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia, said Malaysia’s Attorney General. The two women are alleged to have smeared a deadly chemical over Kim Jong-nam’s face at a Malaysian airport on February 13.

“They will be charged in court under Section 302 of the penal code,” the attorney general said. If convicted, the women could face execution under Malaysian penal code. The two women – Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam and Siti Aisyah from Indonesia are among 10 suspects identified by Malaysian authorities as being involved in Kim’s killing.

The women said they believed they were taking part in a TV prank.

Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un was murdered on February 13 at a Malaysian airport. His death is likely a cause of poisoning with a VX nerve agent – classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the UN. VX is one of the most toxic substances known. The poison severely disrupts the body’s nervous system, and causes death within minutes.

Kim Jong-nam, who lived in exile in Beijing and Macau, was a critic of his half-brother’s regime and advocated reform. His murder has led to strained relations between Malaysia and North Korea, as it is suspected that a senior official in North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur and a staff member of the state airline were implicated in the crime.

Doan Thi Huong (left) and Siti Aisyah (right) said they thought they were taking part in a TV prank, Reuters/AFP

North Korea has demanded Nam’s body from Malaysia, and the release of Ri Jong Chol, as well as the “development of friendly relationships” between North Korea and Malaysia.

The security camera footage showed two women assaulting Kim Jong-nam in the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur international airport. Kim died within 20 minutes of the assault.

Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, there are theories that North Korea might have been in the murder. In a bizarre twist, the Malaysian police said that a suspect, Siti Aisyah, told that she thought she was taking part in a TV prank.

According to Malaysian police officials, the two women have performed the prank on other men – persuading them to close their eyes before spraying them with water. “She was not aware that it was an assassination attempt by alleged foreign agents.”

Kim’s murder caused a diplomatic row between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang, after Malaysia refused North Korean request to hand over Kim’s body until it receives a DNA sample from Mr Kim’s next-of-kin.

As the investigation developed, a number of North Korean suspects were arrested in Malaysia over their alleged links with Kim’s murder. At the same time, South Korea has said it believes that its northern neighbor was behind the killing of Kim Jong-nam.

Diplomatic tensions further escalated when Malaysia recalled its ambassador from North Korea and summoned North Korean ambassador for an explanation.

The investigation eventually confirmed that Kim was murdered using the highly toxic VX nerve agent and the woman who smeared Kim with poison was “very aware” that she had been handling a toxin.

Source/Image: BBC, Reuters