Vladimir Putin Sends Kim Jong-Un 'Sincere Congratulations' on National Holiday

Vladimir Putin Sends Kim Jong-Un 'Sincere Congratulations' on National Holiday

A Malaysian court ruled today the murder trial of two women accused of assassinating the half-brother of North Korea's leader can proceed - in a blow to their families who insist the pair were tricked into carrying out the dramatic hit.

Kim Jong Nam died in February previous year after Aisyah and Doan allegedly wiped his face with VX nerve agent in Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur airport. If found guilty of murder, they will face a mandatory death sentence in that country.

The lawyers for both Aisyah and Doan said their clients will take the stand to defend themselves once the trial resumes later this year.It will be the first time either of them has spoken publicly about the killing.

The two women said they had been paid to carry out what they thought was a prank for a reality TV show.

A North Korean man, later identified as Kim Jong-nam, died after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on 13 February 2017.

He said the prosecution had proven all elements in their case.

Although there has never been any definitive proof, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is widely believed to have ordered his brother's execution. The women's defense teams maintain that they are merely scapegoats, pinning the blame on the four North Korean fugitives who supplied the lethal chemical agent.

"The U.S.is unjustly intervening in the internal affairs of our nation and the inter-Korean relationship, hindering the reconciliation, unity, dialogue and cooperation between Koreas", said the paper.

He added, "I cannot rule out that this could be a political assassination".

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He ruled that the actions of the two women, captured on security camera footage, were enough to infer that they had meant to kill him.

Prosecutors pointed to Doan's behavior after the incident as a key piece of evidence, arguing she raced to wash her hands because she knew there was a unsafe substance on them. Alexander Matsegora, the Russian ambassador to North Korea, told Russian state media that talks between Mr Putin and Mr Kim were "on the agenda". They are believed to be back in North Korea.

Siti Aisyah is brought into court by Malaysian police officers.

Two-way trade between Malaysia and North Korea was just US$4 million in 2016, according to official Malaysian figures.

Malaysia arrested North Korean citizen Ri Jong Chol in connection with the murder.

Kim, the eldest son of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, had lived in self-imposed exile in the Chinese enclave of Macau for more than a decade.

North Korea pours scorn on what it calls "absurd" claims that VX was used, saying South Korea and the USA are mounting a smear campaign against it.

Both women arrived at the high court on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital handcuffed and wearing bulletproof vests, to be escorted into the courtroom by gun-wielding policemen.

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