Two women accused of murdering the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader must have been trained to carry out 'an assassination' using a deadly nerve agent, Malaysian prosecutors said as they wrapped up their case on Thursday.
Jong Nam's face was smeared with VX, a banned nerve agent developed as a
chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February
Two women, Indonesian Siti
Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, have been charged with having
common intent with four North Korean fugitives to kill Kim.
pleaded not guilty, saying they believed they were acting in a prank
reality show and did not know they were handling anything lethal.
But prosecutors said pranks involve the 'element of humour' and video evidence showed the accused were not laughing during or after the attack.
Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong (middle), one of the two women accused of murdering Kim Jong Nam, is escorted from court by Malaysian police
Indonesian Siti Aisyah (pictured) and Doan Thi Huong, both in their 20s, are the only suspects in custody and face the death penalty if convicted
Kim Jong Nam died after his face was smeared with VX, a banned nerve agent developed as a chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017
Wan Shaharuddin said assassins would have to know the best route for VX to enter the victim's body, and know that they have to wash the VX off themselves within 15 minutes to avoid being contaminated.
have to be trained for it... there can be no room for error,'
prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said, likening the 'assassination'
to something seen 'in a James Bond movie'.
The women, both in their 20s, are the only suspects in custody and face the death penalty if convicted.
Airport security footage screened in court showed both women heading to a washroom shortly after the assault on Kim.
Doan Thi Huong is driven away from court, where prosecutors claim the two women must have been trained to carry out 'an assassination'
Security is high at the Shah Alam High Court in Malaysia, where the two women stand accused of murdering the half-brother of North Korea's leader
'If it was a prank, why did you smear not only on his face or on his eyelids, but also in the eye itself?' Wan Shaharuddin said, adding that there was 'an element of aggressiveness' involved.
The prosecution made their closing arguments based on 34 witness testimonies.
Trial judge Azmi Ariffin will rule on August 16 whether to acquit the women or call for them to enter their defence.
Defence lawyers say the killing was politically motivated, with many key suspects linked to the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, suggesting the women were mere pawns. Pyongyang has denied accusations by South Korean and US officials that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime was behind the killing.
CCTV footage purportedly shows the aftermath of the deadly assault on Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017
Airport cameras appear to show what looks like Kim Jong Nam talking to security personnel after being accosted by a woman in a white shirt
Kim had criticized his family's dynastic rule of North Korea and his half-brother had issued a standing order for his execution, some South Korean lawmakers have said.
Lawyers for both women said prosecutors had erred in charging the women, with four men seen fleeing Malaysia on the day of the killing, given the presence of several other North Korean suspects named during the trial.
'How can there be a common intention between the accused and the four, when many others have escaped? There are other suspects who are still at large,' Gooi Soon Seng, Siti Aisyah's lawyer, said.
He described the prosecution's evidence against his client as 'flimsy and circumstantial' as it relied only on the security footage and traces of VX by-products found on the grey sleeveless shirt she was seen wearing. There was no clear footage showing Siti Aisyah smearing Kim's face.
Kim Jong Nam, left, was the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
The recordings show only a blurry image of someone the prosecution identified as Siti Aisyah hurrying away from the scene.
Aisyah's DNA was not found on the shirt recovered by police, while the
VX by-products detected were commonly found in other substances apart
from the poison, Gooi said.
lawyer Naran Singh said while his client was seen walking quickly to the
bathroom after the killing, she did not seem to know that her hands
were covered in poison.
'If someone knew the substance on their hands could kill and that they need to wash it quickly, they would run for their life, not walk.'