Malaysia court rules Kim Jong Nam assassination trial can proceed

Siti Aisyah left and Doan Thi Huong are accused of assassinating Kim Jong Nam with nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur airport

Kim Jong-nam murder trial to proceed as judge rules evidence points to 'well-planned conspiracy'

The proceedings on Thursday could have ended with the court ordering the release of 25-year-old Indonesian citizen, Siti Aisyah, and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, who is 28. "It does not mean they are found guilty, it just means that he (the judge) found that the prosecution have proven there is a prima facie case".

They are accused of killing Kim Jong-nam by smearing a toxic agent, known as VX, on his face while he was at Kuala Lumpur's airport on February 13, 2017. They contend the women were duped by a group of North Koreans into thinking they were participating in a prank television show and thought the liquid was harmless.

Defense lawyers have said the prosecution failed to show the two women had any intention to kill - key to establishing they are guilty of murder.

She then moved to Malaysia, where, like many Vietnamese migrant workers, she hoped for a better life than the one on offer in her poor rice-farming village.

If there is, the trial will continue with the court hearing the women's defence.

"I think we would like to look positively at the change in the attitude of North Korea", Malaysia's premier said in an interview with Kyodo News, in which he called Kim's killing a "simple case of murder".

"Our family expects a fair trial by the Malaysian government", Doan Van Binh said. They had insisted that prosecutors have not shown they meant to kill Kim, who had been living in exile for a decade since falling out of favour with the North's ruling family.

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"We will be calling witnesses from overseas and her home country to testify", he told reporters outside the High Court here.

Airport security footage shown in court captured the moment of the attack and prosecutors also said the camera images linked the women to the four male suspects.

The trial has seen CCTV footage of Huong coming up behind Kim as he waited to check in for his flight to Macau, and clasping her hands on his face. But he said that evidence pointed to a "simultaneous act" by the women. He said they seemed anxious and tense before washing their hands, but relaxed afterward.

The four North Koreans, who South Korea has said are intelligence operatives working for Pyongyang, left Malaysia immediately after Mr. Kim's death and were later placed on an Interpol wanted list at Kuala Lumpur's request.

South Korean and USA officials have said Kim Jong-un's leadership was behind the death. He "had spoken out in the past against his family's dynastic control of North Korea and in a 2012 book was quoted as saying he believed his half-brother lacked leadership qualities", the BBC reported.

He added he could not rule out the killing was "a political assassination", but noted there was no concrete evidence to support this.

Kim, the eldest son in the family that has ruled North Korea since its founding, had been living overseas for years after falling out of favor.

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