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Assassins Who Murdered Kim Jong-un’s Brother To Face Charges

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

The two female suspects in the mysterious death of Kim Jong-un’s brother will face charges for murder Wednesday and could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of the North Korean dictator, was slain in Kuala Lumpur International Airport two weeks ago. He was accosted by two women, 28-year-old Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam and 25-year-old Siti Aisyah from Indonesia, who reportedly wiped a VX nerve agent across Kim’s face. Police arrested Huong and Aisyah a few days after the attack at the airport, and authorities are preparing to charge them with murder.

Kim died within 20 minutes of the attack, indicating that a particularly high dosage was used. VX is one of the world’s most deadly chemical weapons and is classified as a “weapon of mass destruction” by the United Nations.

Both women claimed they believed they were taking part in a prank involving “baby oil.”

Malaysian authorities have arrived at a very different conclusion. “We strongly believe it is a planned thing and that they have been trained to do that,” Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said at a press conference last week.

“They will be charged in court under Section 302 of the penal code,” Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali revealed Monday. If they are convicted, Huong and Aisyah may be sentenced to death.

Police also arrested a North Korean man, Ri Jong-chol; however, authorities have yet to decide whether or not he will be charged with any crime related to the killing.

Malaysian authorities are still trying to track down several North Korean suspects who fled the country immediately after the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, and arrest warrants have been issued for a diplomat and an airline worker who are reportedly hiding out at the North Korean embassy.

A North Korean delegation arrived Monday to retrieve Kim’s body.

Pyongyang is believed to have orchestrated the hit.

South Korea’s spy agency warned Kim Jong-nam last year that he was a likely target, as his existence posed a threat to the regime. Kim was an unambitious but outspoken critic of his younger brother’s rule. Kim Jong-un previously issued a standing order for his brother’s assassination, and an attempt was made on his life a few years ago.

The NIS claims that four of the North Korean suspects in the murder at the airport were members of North Korea’s Ministry of State Security, while two others were from the foreign ministry.

South Korea is calling for investigations into North Korean human rights atrocities, offering support to proposals by the U.S. to add North Korea back to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and kick them out of the United Nations.

Malaysian authorities have yet to conclude that North Korea carried out the hit.

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