SEPANG: Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong and Indonesian Siti Aisyah are facing the gallows for the alleged murder of a North Korean on Feb 13.
The women were charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code that carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction. The charge was read together with Section 34 of the same Code.
Siti Aisyah was the first to appear before the magistrate’s court here yesterday.
In the charge sheet, she was accused, together with four men still at large, of murdering a “Kim Chol” at the KLIA2 departure hall in Sepang.
“Kim Chol” is the name that Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of the country’s leader Kim Jong-un, usually travels under.
Siti allegedly committed the offence at 9am on Feb 13. The charge was read out to her in Bahasa Indonesia through an interpreter.
She nodded, signalling that she understood the charge. No plea was recorded.
DPP Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad asked the court for one-and-a-half months to get all the relevant documents before the case is transferred to the Shah Alam High Court.
Lawyer Gooi Soon Seng, who represented Siti, applied for the court to grant a gag order against the police and potential witnesses from issuing statements to the press that could incriminate or compromise his client’s case.
“This application is to ensure her right to a fair trial is not compromised. Those statements are sub judice,” Gooi said.
Sessions Court judge Harith Sham Mohamed Yasin, sitting as a magistrate, granted the gag order and fixed April 13 for mention.
After Siti was led out of the courtroom, Doan was brought out before the judge.
She was charged, together with four men still at large, with the same offence, at the same time. Her charge was read out in Vietnamese.
Doan said she understood the charge. No plea was recorded. She was represented by lawyer S. Selvam.
DPP Muhammad Iskandar asked for a joint trial for both cases at the Shah Alam High Court. The court allowed the application and fixed April 13 for mention.
Representatives from Indonesian and Vietnamese embassies were in court, including Indonesian deputy ambassador to Malaysia Andreano Erwin.
Earlier before the charging, both women were brought to the KLIA2 to have their identities confirmed.
The police took their photos at the site of the killing to compare this with the CCTV footage. Doan appeared calm throughout the 30-minute process.
Jong-nam was killed at KLIA2 on Feb 13 after two women smeared him with a chemical that has since been identified as the VX nerve agent.
Doan was arrested on Feb 15 as she was attempting to catch a flight back to Vietnam, while Siti was detained early the next day.
Police have also arrested a third suspect, North Korean citizen Ri Jong-chol, and are seeking three more men, including North Korean embassy second secretary Hyon Kwang-song.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali said Ri, 47, was still being investigated by police and would make a decision by tomorrow on whether to charge him.