The trial of two women accused of murdering the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un resumed in Malaysia Monday, as a defence lawyer complained of missing evidence like the victim’s phone.
Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, handcuffed and in bulletproof vests, were brought back to the court under heavy police guard after a seven-week break.
The women, in their 20s, are accused of killing Kim Jong-Nam on February 13 last year with the nerve agent VX at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in a hit that stunned the world.
The pair, who were arrested days after the assassination and face death by hanging if convicted, pleaded not guilty to the murder when the trial began on October 2.
The suspects say they were tricked into believing they were taking part in a prank for a reality TV show, and their lawyers have blamed North Korean agents.
The trial has heard that four North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of assassination are also suspected of involvement.
As the women’s trial restarted after a break over the Christmas and New Year period, the defence team renewed complaints that key evidence was missing.
Speaking to reporters outside the High Court in Shah Alam, Aisyah’s lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said the fact that Kim’s mobile phone could not be presented in the trial was a major hindrance.
The phone and most of Kim’s belongings were handed to North Korea, along with his body, after his murder, according to prosecutors.
“With the phone, we can find out who revealed his movements to the North Koreans,” Seng said.
“We can find a political trail — this is a political assassination.”
The trial heard Monday from several airport technicians who described how they downloaded CCTV footage at the airport and copied it on to CDs, which were passed to authorities. This was to ensure the footage was admissible as evidence in the trial.
The murder sparked a furious row between North Korea and Malaysia.
South Korea accuses the North of ordering Kim’s murder, an allegation it denies.