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Trial in Kim murder visits lab to examine VX-tainted clothes

Updated: 
October 9, 2017 - 12:05am

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 VX nerve agent.

Judges often visit crime scenes in Malaysia, and in this case the move was made after a government chemist 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.

After the lab visit, defense lawyers are expected to cross-examine the chemist, Raja Subramaniam, who has testified 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.

This week, prosecutors say they will 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.

Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam and Siti Aisyah of Indonesia 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.

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