Two women accused of killing Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader were charged with murder on Wednesday. The women, who allegedly attacked Kim at Kuala Lumpur airport with VX nerve, arrived at court under the protection of special forces wearing masks and carrying machine guns.
Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, citizens of Indonesia and Vietnam respectively, both have claimed they were not guilty in the killing of Kim-who died suddenly on February 13. If convicted both will face death penalty, as per the chargesheets read in court.
Wearing a red t-shirt and looking on the verge of tears, Aisyah was led to the dock in handcuffs.
“I do not admit this,” she said when asked by an interpreter whether she understood the charges before repeating “I am not guilty of this.” Huong, who was photographed after the crime wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the letters “LOL,” also said she was “not guilty” of murdering Kim.
The pair have not entered formal pleas, because the magistrate court where they appeared has no jurisdiction over a murder case. They will be filed when the case reaches the High Court.
The charge sheet also named “four others at large,” who participated in the crime. The women have claimed that they were taking part in a televised prank. Aisyah have said that she thought the substance she rubbed on Kim’s face was “a kind of oil, baby oil, something like that,” and had been paid 400 Malaysian ringgit for it,according to Andreano Erwin, Indonesia’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia.
However, the substance that was used on Kim was VX nerve, a deadly chemical banned under international law. Kim was the eldest son and onetime apparent heir to North Korea’s late leader Kim Jong Il. But he fell out of favor with his father, which led to exile, and his younger paternal half-brother — Kim Jong Un, 33 — assumed the role Korean dictator.