Indonesia envoy shocked by Malaysia trial ruling

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong who is on trial for the killing of Kim Jong-nam is escorted by police as she arrives at the Shah Alam High Court

Indonesia envoy shocked by Malaysia trial ruling

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, face the death penalty on charges of murdering Kim Jong-nam by smearing his face with VX, a nerve agent banned by the United Nations, at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 past year.

Prosecutors played security camera footage showing the two women meeting the group of North Koreans at Malaysia's busiest airport, then assaulting Mr. Kim near an airline kiosk-with at least one of them touching her hands to his face.

Two women - Indonesian citizen Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong - stand accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 previous year.

The lawyers are confident the pair will be acquitted of murder, insisting that prosecutors have not shown they meant to kill Kim, who was heir apparent to the North Korean leadership before he fell from grace and went on to live in exile.

Ms Aisyah's father, Asria, told reporters in the family village on Indonesia's Java island that he hoped she would be freed.

Mr. Azmi said that while he "can't rule out this could be political assassination" there was insufficient evidence to prove it.

The judge's decision will extend a trial that has already lasted 10 months and will provide a relief for prosecutors, who have struggled to establish a clear motive for the women's role in the killing.

"I've been waiting for her return for so long", he said.

Huong's lawyers also said they did not expect the ruling.

"We were disappointed when the court ordered Siti to answer the charge against her even though we have adduced evidence to rebut the prosecution's case", Gooi said.

The lawyers for Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong said they will be writing to the attorney-general (AG) over a request to take statements from foreign witnesses.

The judge could have chosen to acquit the women had he decided the evidence was not sufficient.

The women arrived at the court in Sham Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, under heavy police guard and wearing bullet proof vests, and were ushered past a pack of waiting journalists.

The trial has seen CCTV footage of Ms Huong, 30, coming up behind Mr Kim as he waited to check in for his flight to Macau, and clasping her hands on his face.

Four men - believed to be North Koreans who left Malaysia on the day of the murder - have also been charged in the case, but have not been found.

Defense lawyers say the killing was politically motivated, with many key suspects linked to the North Korean embassy in the Malaysian capital, suggesting the women were simply pawns. It added fuel to a USA drive to isolate the regime that eventually led to a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump this year in Singapore.

Kim, who was 45 or 46, was the eldest son of the family that has ruled North Korea since its founding, yet he reportedly fell out of favour in 2001 when he was caught trying to enter Japan on a false passport, saying he wanted to visit Tokyo Disneyland.

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