Wednesday, August 21

Kim Jong-nam murder: Siti Aisyah, Doan ordered to enter defence


Siti Aisyah is escorted as she leaves the Shah Alam High Court. — Reuters photos

SHAH ALAM: The High Court here yesterday ordered Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong to enter their defence on a charge of murdering the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader, Kim Chol or Kim Jong-nam, last year.

Judge Datuk Azmi Ariffin in his ruling said the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against Siti Aisyah, 26, and Doan, 29, at the end of prosecution case.

In his judgement, Justice Azmi said he had taken a step back and re-looked at the evidence objectively and viewed the prosecution case from all angles especially the demeanours of the prosecution witnesses during the trial.

Doan is escorted as she leaves the Shah Alam High Court.

“I have also carefully considered very strong arguments advances before me by the learned counsels and the learned deputy public prosecutor.

“Suffice to say that at the close of the prosecution case, I have undertake a maximum evaluation of the evidence adduced and I find that the whole of the evidence presented by the prosecution at this juncture is credible for the court to safely accept, give due weight and act upon it.

“For the reason I have already set out, I am satisfied that all ingredients of the charge against the accused that need to be proved has been established.

“I now accordingly find the prosecution has made out a prima facie case against both.

“I therefore call upon them to enter defence on their respective charges,” he said in his two-and-a-half hour judgment which began at 10 am.

Justice Azmi said it could be inferred from evidence presented in court that there was a well-planned conspiracy between the two women and four North Korean suspects still at large to kill Kim Chol.

“I can’t rule out that this could be a political assassination. Despite that I am still unable to confirm this fact.

“Even though the evidence produced by the prosecution in the form of the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footages showed the meticulous planning undertaken by the four North Koreans,” he said.

Besides that, the judge also said that a common intention was also proven and the two women were the perpetrators.

Siti Aisyah and Doan were charged with four others still at large with the murder of Kim Chol, 45, at the klia2 departure hall at 9 am on Feb 13 last year.

Azmi said having considered the conduct of the four North Korean men before and after the commission of the crime, it was manifested that these four did play a substantial role throughout the fatal encounter.

“Based on the CCTV footage, it can be seen that the four men were at the scene but what were they doing there? They were mere bystanders but they played a role and they are part of the chain that led to the murder of the deceased even though they have not lifted a finger on the deceased.

“No doubt that the accused were at the time of the incident. The pattern of the attack was almost similar and successfully done. Then after the attack, they went their separate ways…the question was why they wanted to go different level to wash their hands…my answer is that if the victim saw them, they are at risk of getting arrested.

“Judging from the accused’s facial expressions, they look tense to me. The faces portray suspicious behaviour. They could have reason for behaving in such a manner,” he added.

Lawyer Gooi Soon Seng, representing Siti Aisyah and Doan’s lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said that their clients would testify under oath from the witness stand.

The court then fixed Nov 1, 5, 7, 8, 12, and 13 as well as between Dec 12 and 14 as the trial dates for Siti Aisyah to enter her defence while between Jan 7 and 10, Jan 28 and 31 as well as between Feb 18 and 20 next year for Doan to enter her defence. Clad in baju kurung with a scarf covering their heads, Siti Aisyah and Doan who were heavily guarded, were ushered by police team to the courtroom at about 8.20 am.

Siti Aisyah and Doan were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code which provides for the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

When met by the media after the decision, Gooi and Hisyam said they were deeply disappointed with the ruling but they respect the judgement.

“We will do our best at the defence stage,” said Gooi.

“We have more than 10 witnesses from overseas and Vietnam to testify. We maintain our client is innocent. Our client is very sad,” said Hisyam.

Deputy public prosecutor Wan Shaharuddin Wan Ladin said it was a fair decision. — Bernama