Trial begins for women accused of assassinating Kim Jong-un's brother


They have repeated have been deceived, that they thought to participate in a tv show style " hidden camera ".

The two women, who face the death penalty if convicted, will plead not guilty at the start of the trial, their lawyers said.

Kim's estranged brother died shortly after the alleged attack in the airport on February 13.

Siti Aisyah (above, left) of Indonesia and Doan Thi Huong (above, right) of Vietnam entered their pleas through interpreters at Shah Alam High Court, near the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday.

Four others believed to be involved in the killing are still at large.

At least 30 witnesses are expected to be called to give evidence at the trial, which will see the prosecution led by the country's Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad.

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Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, 28, are charged with the murder of Kim Jong-nam by covering his face with the chemical poison VX at Kuala Lumpur's worldwide airport on 13 February.

"The evidence clearly showed that their action to swipe the poison known as VX caused the death of the victim".

The murder sparked an angry row between North Korea and Malaysia, which had been one of Pyongyang's few allies amid global alarm over the country's atomic weapons programme, with both countries expelling each other's ambassadors. In the months that preceded the trial, the defense continues to present its clients as scapegoats.

The pair have claimed from the start that they did not know they were taking part in the worldwide assassination of dictator Kim Jong-un's estranged relative, and believed they were taking part in a TV prank show.

Police have said four North Korean suspects fled Malaysia on the day of the murder, and the women's defence teams insist these individuals are the main suspects. "The way the police conducted the investigation in this case is shrouded in mystery", said the lawyer Aisyah, Gooi Soon Seng, accusing the authorities of not cooperating.

"The Chinese realise all this North Korean gangsterism - not just the murders but the traffic in metamphetamines and counterfeit dollars - I think the Chinese would like to rein that in", Kelly told Al Jazeera.