Lawyer confident of Indonesia woman’s acquittal in murder case of Kim’s half brother

In this March 1, 2017 photo, Indonesian Siti Aishah leaves a Malaysian court after she was charged with the murder of North Korea's Kim Jong Nam at the Malaysia airport. (REUTERS file)
Updated 12 July 2018
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Lawyer confident of Indonesia woman’s acquittal in murder case of Kim’s half brother

  • Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong are accused of killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with a piece of cloth laced with the deadly VX nerve agent poison.
  • Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was living in exile in Malaysia at the time of his assassination.

JAKARTA: The Indonesian woman accused of killing Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is likely to be acquitted as the evidence against her is circumstantial, her lawyer said on Wednesday.

The Malaysian High Court in Shah Alam, Selangor, has set the date for a court hearing on Aug. 16, when the judge will rule on whether Siti Aisyah, 26, and her co-defendant Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, 29, will be acquitted or called to make their defense in further court hearings.

“I am confident that Siti Aisyah will be acquitted without her defense being called for as the evidence produced by the prosecutor was wholly circumstantial,” Aisyah’s lawyer Gooi Soon Seng told journalists.

 “There was no eyewitness to the incident and the case was based on CCTV footage, which showed that Siti Aisyah did not attack the deceased,” he said. He added that CCTV footage only showed Doan attacking Kim Jong Nam and, unlike Aisyah, Doan admitted that she had attacked him.

 Both women are accused on separate charges of killing Kim Jong Nam by smearing his face with a piece of cloth laced with the deadly VX nerve agent poison, but are being jointly tried as the evidence and witnesses are the same.

 Gooi said that the prosecutor relied on Kim Jong Nam’s final words to prove that two women attacked him, but there was a contradiction from two witnesses about the number of women who had attacked him.

 A security officer at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, where the murder took place on Feb. 13, 2017, testified in court that Kim Jong Nam told her two women attacked him, however a nurse at the airport clinic testified that he told her he was attacked by one woman. “The nurse’s evidence was corroborated by the doctor’s medical note, which stated that Kim Jong Nam was attacked by one woman. The material contradiction was never explained by the prosecutor,” Gooi said. 

 Other evidence supporting Gooi’s defense of Aisyah’s innocence was that her DNA was not found on a shirt that the prosecutor said contained traces of VX nerve agent. The shirt was confiscated from the hotel room where Aisyah was arrested. The police officer who arrested her and seized the shirt testified that he stored it in a black plastic bag, while the investigating officer said that he received the shirt in a clear plastic bag.

 “There was a break in the chain of evidence,” Gooi said, adding Aisyah’s fingernail clippings also did not show any traces of VX agent and she did not suffer any symptoms relating to VX poisoning.

 Aisyah was also charged in having a common intention to commit murder with four North Koreans, who fled Malaysia after the incident and were still at large but whose names were not mentioned in the charge.

Gooi said that the prosecutor had failed to prove with direct evidence that Aisyah had the intention to kill the deceased.

 “In defense, we told the court that Aisyah was at the airport because she was asked to go there to do a prank,” Gooi said, adding that the burden lay with the prosecution to prove otherwise.

 Gooi said that political assasination could not be ruled out in this case since the four North Korean suspects were allegedly linked to the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, the Foreign Ministry’s director for the protection of Indonesians abroad, told Arab News that the court hearing on Aug. 16 would rule if the evidence and witnesses presented so far would be sufficient to establish a case until proven otherwise.

 “If they are insufficient, Aisyah should be acquitted of the charges against her,” Iqbal said, adding that Aisyah’s defense team had repeteadly asked the judge to put on record the inconsistencies and contradictions of evidence and witnesses presented by the prosecutor.

Aisyah faces a death sentence by hanging if found guilty of murdering Kim Jong Nam.


Moon says Kim agreed to allow nuke inspections

In this image made from video provided by Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose after signing documents in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018. (AP)
Updated 7 min 55 sec ago
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Moon says Kim agreed to allow nuke inspections

  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have started their second day of summit talks in Pyongyang over the nuclear standoff and other inter-Korean issues
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in upon his arrival in Pyongyang for their third summit this year to improve ties and help resolve the nuclear standoff

PYONGYANG, North Korea: South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to permanently dismantle a missile engine test site and a launch pad in the presence of international experts in what he described as a specific step toward denuclearization.
Moon also said on Wednesday that the North agreed to take further steps such as permanently dismantling its main Nyongbyon nuclear complex if the United States takes corresponding measures.
Moon and Kim spoke at a news conference after signing a joint statement following their second day of summit talks in Pyongyang.

The leaders of the two Koreas have signed a joint statement after their summit talks, but no details of what it said were released.
South Korean media pool footage shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signing the documents in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
The leaders posed for photos while displaying the documents.
Seoul says the two Koreans leaders are to jointly announce the results of their summit later Wednesday.
The defense chiefs of the two Koreas also signed their agreements that Seoul says are about reducing military tensions along the border.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have started their second day of summit talks in Pyongyang over the nuclear standoff and other inter-Korean issues.
Moon and Kim on Wednesday were seen talking as they stepped into a meeting room at Pyongyang’s Paekhwawon State Guesthouse.
They were accompanied by their wives and top government officials, including Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong and Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, who is seen as Kim’s closest confident and possibly the second-most powerful figure in his ruling regime.
Moon and Kim were expected to release a joint statement later on Wednesday.
North Korea’s state media says there was an “in-depth exchange of opinions on various issues” between the leaders during their first talks on Tuesday.

South Korea says President Moon Jae-in will attend a performance of North Korea’s iconic mass games following his second day of summit talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang.
Moon’s spokesman Yoon Young-chan said Wednesday he couldn’t confirm whether Kim will also attend the evening performance at Pyongyang’s May Day Stadium of tens of thousands of people working in unison.
Yoon says the performance of “The Glorious Country” will draw about 150,000 spectators.
Yoon says the Korean leaders will likely announce a joint statement following their summit talks earlier on Wednesday but will probably not take questions from reporters.
North Korea first staged its mass games in 2002, when Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was the country’s leader. They continued almost without interruption on an annual basis until 2014, when they were not held at all.
The North brought back the mass games during its lavish celebrations for the 70th anniversary of its state founding earlier this month.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un says his June summit with US President Donald Trump has stabilized the regional security situation.
South Korean media pool reports say Kim made the comment during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
The reports say Kim thanked Moon for brokering his summit with Trump in Singapore.
The leaders of the two Koreas had their first in-depth talks in Pyongyang on Tuesday. The talks are to continue Wednesday and Moon is expected to return to Seoul on Thursday.

The leaders of the two Koreas have begun their summit talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and other issues.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in flew to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital, on Tuesday for his third summit of the year with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Moon’s office says the talks with Kim began at a ruling Workers’ Party building in Pyongyang.
It says two senior officials from both countries are also attending the meeting with the leaders.
Moon and Kim are to meet again on Wednesday.
Moon’s office says the summit will focus on how to achieve denuclearization, reduce military tensions between the Koreas and promote ties.

Britain’s top diplomat says it’s time for North Korea to take concrete actions toward eliminating its nuclear weapons.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Tuesday in Tokyo that dialogue has helped improve the atmosphere “but we need to see actions now.”
He spoke as South Korean President Moon Jae-in was visiting Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to try to revitalize the North’s denuclearization talks with the United States.
Hunt told The Associated Press that Britain is ready to relax economic sanctions on North Korea when there is concrete evidence of a change from the North Korean side.
He is in Japan to hold “strategic dialogue” talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are holding a car parade along Pyongyang streets.
The recorded South Korean media pool footage showed the two leaders aboard a convertible black limousine smiling and waving their hands as residents, many wearing colorful traditional handbook dresses, chanted and waved plastic flowers.
A convoy of sedans and motorcycles were the only other cars on the neatly manicured route.
Moon arrived Tuesday morning for a three-day visit. They’re holding their third summit and will attempt to improve ties and resolve a standoff in nuclear disarmament talks.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have arrived at a guesthouse in Pyongyang where they are expected to have talks over lunch.
Kim and Moon arrived at the Paekhwawon State Guesthouse in a black Mercedes convertible and were seen talking and adjusting their hair before stepping out of the backseat.
Their wives also reportedly shared a separate vehicle to the guesthouse.
The Paekwawon Guesthouse was also where former South Korean Presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun stayed during their summits with Kim’s father in 2000 and 2007.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in upon his arrival in Pyongyang for their third summit this year to improve ties and help resolve the nuclear standoff.
Moon and Kim embraced at the Sunan International Airport on Tuesday as thousands of North Koreans cheered and waved flowers, North Korean flags and a blue-and-white map symbolizing a unified peninsula.
Moon and Kim and their wives shook the hands of North Korean and South Korean officials before they were saluted by a North Korean ceremonial guard.
They then inspected goose-stepping soldiers, and Moon shook hands with North Korean civilians and bowed deeply to them.