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Vietnamese charged with murder in Kim Jong-nam killing

Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 17:35 GMT+7

One Vietnamese and one Indonesian national have been charged with murder by a court in western Malaysia on Wednesday, for the killing in Kuala Lumpur of a man believed to be the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader.

Vietnam’s Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aishah were charged separately by a court in Sepang District in the state of Selangor, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper correspondent reported from the scene.

The women were arrested following the death of Kim Jong-nam, while using a passport under the name of Kim Chol at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13. The suspects had reportedly smeared VX nerve agent on the victim’s face, according to footage recorded by security cameras.

Aishah and Huong took turns listening to their respective charge sheets via a translator, before the judge ruled that they were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the death penalty.

Neither of them made a plea.

“Do you understand what the charge means?” the judge asked Huong, to which the Vietnamese said yes.

The women were then escorted back to police cars to return to their cells, according to the Tuoi Tre correspondent.

Wednesday’s court session began at 10:00 am (Malaysia time) and ended after 15 minutes.

The court will continue on April 13, when prosecutors will apply for the accused to be tried jointly.

Malaysian authorities had been surprised by how much attention the case had gained from international and regional media.

More than 100 international journalists gathered at the court in Sepang District in the state of Selangor to follow the proceedings, Tuoi Tre reported from the scene earlier today.

Journalists were forced to wait until late Tuesday when local authorities announced that the media would be allowed to attend court.

Both Huong and Aishah have told diplomats from their countries that they had been paid to take part in what they believed was a prank for a reality television show, according to Reuters.

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