About the Author
Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
Two women arrested in connection with the death of Kim Jong Nam will be charged with his murder on Wednesday at the magistrate’s court in Sepang, the Malaysia Attorney General confirmed to press on Tuesday.
The two women, a Vietnamese passport holder, Doan Thi Huong, and an Indonesian passport holder, Sitia Aisyah, were arrested after being seen on CCTV footage attacking Kim at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on February 13.
During the attack, Kim was exposed to a lethal dose of VX – a chemical weapon and highly toxic nerve agent – and subsequently died on his way to hospital.
Malaysia’s Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali confirmed the charges to several press outlets via text message on Tuesday.
“They will be charged in court under Section 302 of the penal code,” the BBC quoted Apandi Ali as saying. Section 302 of the Malaysia Penal Code carries the death penalty for the crime of murder.
— Sumisha Naidu (@SumishaCNA) February 28, 2017
The two women have reportedly claimed that they did not know they were exposing the victim to a nerve agent. However, their account of the events have so far been denied by Malaysian police.
“We strongly believe this is a planned effort and they have been trained to do what they did,” the Inspector General of Police, Khalid Abu Bakar, told the New Straits Times last week.
Huong and Aisyah were ordered to be remanded in custody for 14 days prior to the announcement, while a North Korean citizen, Ri Jong Chol, also arrested in relation to the case, remains in custody without charge. The remand order for Huong and Aisyah expires on Wednesday.
The news comes as a North Korean delegation headed by Ri Tong Il, the former deputy permanent representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the United Nations, arrived in Malaysia on Tuesday.
The delegation will be discussing the case, which the DPRK denies any involvement in, with Malaysian authorities.
This is despite Malaysia announcing that it sought several North Koreans for questioning including a diplomat from the DPRK Embassy in Malaysia.