By EILEEN NG
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Malaysian court holding the trial of two women accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader moved temporarily Monday to a high-security laboratory to view evidence contaminated with the toxic VX nerve agent.
Judges often visit crime scenes in Malaysia, and in this case the move was made after government chemist Raja Subramaniam testified last week that the VX he found on the women’s clothing may still be active.
His testimony was the first evidence linking VX to Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam, who are accused of smearing the nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam’s face in a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal on Feb. 13.
Selvi Sandrasegaram, one of the lawyers for Siti, said Raja spent more than an hour showing VX-tainted evidence, including clothing worn by the two accused on the day of the murder and Huong’s fingernail clippings, from a small room inside the laboratory at the chemist department.
Selvi said she was also in the room, along with Huong and two police officers, while the others watched through a glass screen outside the room. She said Huong wanted to go into the room to have a closer look at the evidence.
The trial was originally due to resume after lunch at the court building but the judge deferred it after Raja complained he was exhausted, she said.
Raja last week testified that VX was present on the women’s clothing as well as on Kim Jong Nam’s face, eyes, clothing, and in his blood and urine samples.
Raja will be cross-examined by defense lawyers when the hearing resumes Tuesday.
Prosecutors have also said that they will this week present airport security videos that show the two women carrying out the attack and indicate they knew they were handling poison.
Defense lawyers have said the women were duped by suspected North Korean agents into believing they were playing a harmless prank for a hidden TV-camera show.
The two women pleaded not guilty at the start of their trial last week to charges of murder that carry a mandatory death sentence if they are convicted.
Kim, the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea’s dynastic rulers, was believed to be a family outcast who may have been perceived as a threat by the nation’s leader, his youngest sibling Kim Jong Un.
VX is banned by an international treaty as a weapon of mass destruction but is believed to be part of North Korea’s chemical weapons arsenal.
- The Docket
- Member Service