Jong-nam trial: Defendants arrive at Chemistry Dept for closed-door proceedings

Pic Reuters

Pic Reuters

Dr Raja made a request to judge Azmi Ariffin for the cross examination to be conducted tomorrow, after spending almost two hours at the Chemistry Department in Petaling Jaya showing the evidence that had been sent to him for testing, including shreds of a shirt bearing the letters "LOL" that belonged to one of the accused, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong.

High Court judge Justice Azmi Ariffin advises the lawyers not to "cross the line" as their comments may influence public perception of the trial.

"They were sent back to North Korea upon the request of the investigating officer", he said in response to Gooi's question on what happened to Jong Nam's belongings.

Kim was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's dynastic rulers but was believed to have been cast out by his father and had lived overseas for years.

Their charge, under Section 302 of the Penal Code, carries a mandatory death sentence upon conviction. North Korea experts say he may have been killed because he was perceived as a threat to the nation's current leader, his younger sibling, Kim Jong Un. Defense lawyers have said the women were duped by suspected North Korean agents into believing they were playing a harmless prank for a hidden camera TV show. It was not removed from the bags, but the judge and court officials wore surgical masks and gloves as a safety precaution.

Prosecutors previously told the trial that the women carried out practice runs before assassinating Kim.

The defence that the VX was created by combining two non-poisonous chemicals was rubbished by Subramaniam on Tuesday. Huong was seen on airport surveillance videos wearing a sweater emblazoned with big black letters reading "LOL", the acronym for "laughing out loud".

Raja also said he discarded samples of clothing that were cut and tested for VX under the standard operating procedure recommended by the Organization of Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Raja, the eighth witness to take the stand, is to be cross-examined by defense lawyers on Monday after the lab visit. He concluded in his autopsy report that Kim died of "acute VX poisoning". Selvi Sandrasegaram, one of the lawyers for Aisyah, said Raja spent more than an hour showing VX-tainted evidence in a small room inside the laboratory at the chemist department. "They have the upper hand but we have our own strategy", prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin told reporters later.

Asked if this amount was enough to kill him, Raja said: "I can't give a direct answer on this".

Selvi said she was in the room along with Huong and two police officers, while the others watched through a glass screen outside the room.

In its opening statement at the trial, the prosecution said it would prove the two women approached Jong Nam at the airport's departure hall and sprayed VX nerve agent on his eyes and face.

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