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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, August 21, 2018

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North Korea rejects Nam’s autopsy report as an "absurdity" as Malaysia charges two women with murder

The plot thickens

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia on Wednesday charged two women, an Indonesian and a Vietnamese, with the murder of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.> BNN

The two women - Siti Aishah, a 25-year-old from Jakarta, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from rural northern Vietnam – could get the death sentence if they are convicted of killing Kim in a shocking assassination at the international airport in Kuala Lumpur on February 13.

The women arrived at court under the protection of masked special forces who were carrying machine guns. 

Both accused were seen wearing bulletproof vests.

"I understand but I am not guilty,'' the Vietnamese suspect told the court in English after the murder charge was read out, looking briefly at the public gallery as she was escorted out and bowed her head.

The other woman just nodded as her translator told her, "You are accused of murdering a North Korean man at the departure hall'' of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. 

The two accused did not enter pleas because the magistrate court where they appeared has no jurisdiction over a murder case. 

Only higher courts have jurisdiction over murder cases.

Both women say they believed they were part of a prank on TV that required them to play harmless tricks on unsuspecting passengers.

North Korea, meanwhile, strongly refuted autopsy results that suggested the deadly VX nerve agent was used for the brazen murder in broad daylight. 

The two women allegedly smeared the lethal gas on Kim's face.

North Korea's state-run news agency on Wednesday said the allegation that small amounts of the extremely lethal chemical agent were detected on Kim's body was an "absurdity'' lacking "scientific accuracy and logical coherence.''

According to Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, North Korea also "have not extended any form of cooperation."

The isolated country run by the mercurial dictator is likely to be behind the murder, according to U.S. and South Korean officials. 

Kim Jong-nam was a vocal critic of his brother's dictatorial regime and according to some reports, Kim Jon Un perceived him as a threat to his rule.

All this while, the body of the murdered North Korean has not yet been claimed. 

"So far, no family member has come forward to identify or claim the body. We need a DNA sample of a family member to match the profile of the dead person," Malaysian Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said.

"Malaysian law says the body can only be claimed after the DNA process since the North Korean has two names - Kim Chol and Kim Jong-nam. We want to draw a conclusion, and that's why we need DNA samples to confirm his identity," he said at the weekly press conference.

The minister said it would decide the next course of action if no one came to claim the body after "a certain period of time."

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