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Kim Jong Nam murder suspects to testify for the first time

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Two women accused of murdering the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are set to take the stand for the first time, defence and prosecution lawyers said on Friday.

According to them, the trial will resume in Malaysia on Monday.

Vietnam’s Doan Thi Huong, 30, and 27-year-old Siti Aisyah of Indonesia are on trial for the murder of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017.

The women were caught on security footage smearing VX nerve agent, a deadly weapon developed for chemical warfare, on Kim’s face, before fleeing the scene.

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The killing recalled Cold War-era hits using lethal substances, causing shockwaves for its audacity in taking place in a public area.

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The trial which began in October 2017 was ordered to resume after a judge found in August that there was sufficient evidence that the two women engaged in a “well-planned conspiracy” with other suspects still at large.

“Doan is very much confident of giving evidence – she will narrate her version in court,” her lawyer Salim Bashir told dpa.

According to her lawyer Selvi Sandrasegaram, Siti is expected to testify on March 27.

Prosecutors argue the women were trained assassins and aware of the toxicity of the substance they used, noting both rushed to separate bathrooms post-attack.

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The suspects have maintained that they thought they were playing a prank that was being secretly filmed for a reality-TV show, and that they were tricked by North Korean operatives.

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The women face the death penalty if convicted.

Malaysia has pledged to abolish capital punishment; however it is uncertain when the amendments will take place.

dpa/NAN

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