2 women plead not guilty to killing N.Korean leader's half-brother

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The 29-year-old Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong and the 25-year-old Indonesian national Siti Aisyah are accused of murdering Kim by smearing his face with the VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on February 13. It's a role they've claimed they were tricked into: They say they had been told they were carrying out a harmless prank for a hidden-camera YouTube show.

After their charges were read to them in court in Indonesian and Vietnamese, the two women entered their pleas through interpreters.

"We are fairly confident that at the end of trial, they will probably be acquitted", Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, a lawyer representing Huong, said on Monday. Jong-nam was at the airport waiting to board a flight to Macau, but died about 20 minutes after the attack.

The hearing before Justice Azmi Ariffin continues Monday afternoon.

The charge sheet accuses the women of killing Kim with four others still at large, who are not named.

Malaysia secured its citizens' release in return for Kim's body and safe passage home for the North Korean citizens sought in relation to the murder.

But the judge rejected the defense's request to compel the prosecution to reveal the names of the four North Koreans on day one of the trial, which featured witnesses giving chilling accounts of the final moments in the life of Kim Jong Nam.

Meanwhile, it has been earlier speculated that the assassination was carried out by the North Korean government itself as Jong-nam is not only known to have had a fallout with the regime, he was also accused of advocating reform in the reclusive nation. Kim Jong Nam was transported to a nearby clinic.

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"I saw him clutching his head and he was closing his eyes tightly".

The low level of the enzyme "in Kim Chol's body could be caused by poison such as pesticide or nerve agent", she told the court.

Mr Kim, who was in his mid-40s, was the estranged older half-brother of leader Kim Jong-un, and had been living overseas at the time of his death.

The witness said this during cross-examination by lawyer Gooi Soon Seng on whether she agreed a low enzyme level could be due to taking female hormones.

Personalities north Korean with a party related to the case have fled to Malaysia immediately after the murder.

In late January, James introduced her to a man called Chang, who said he was the producer of video prank shows for the Chinese market, the lawyer said.

Three other suspects who were at North Korea's embassy were permitted to leave the country after reaching an agreement with Malaysia.

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