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Malaysia to charge two women with murder of Kim Jong Nam

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Kim Jong Nam died after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur airport (AP)

Kim Jong Nam died after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur airport (AP)

Kim Jong Nam died after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur airport (AP)

Two women accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with a nerve agent in a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal will be charged with murder on Wednesday, Malaysia's chief prosecutor has said.

Mohamed Apandi Ali said the charges against Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong would bring a mandatory death sentence if they are convicted.

Two other suspects in the February 13 killing of Kim Jong Nam have been arrested - a Malaysian who is out on bail and a North Korean who remains in custody.

Asked if the North Korean will be charged, Mr Apandi said it depends on the outcome of investigations.

Authorities are seeking seven other North Korean suspects, four of whom fled the country on the day of Kim Jong Nam's death and are believed to be back in North Korea.

Others sought include the second secretary of North Korea's embassy and an employee of North Korea's state-owned airline, Air Koryo.

The killing took place amid crowds of travellers at Kuala Lumpur's airport and appeared to be a well-planned hit.

Malaysian authorities said North Koreans put the deadly nerve agent VX on the hands of Aisyah and Huong, who then placed the toxin on Kim Jong Nam's face.

He died on the way to hospital within about 20 minutes of the attack.

Aisyah and Huong have reportedly said they thought they were part of a prank TV show when they put their hands on Kim Jong Nam.

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Indonesian officials have said Aisyah told them she was paid the equivalent of 90 dollars (£72).

A high-level North Korean delegation arrived in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday seeking the body of Kim Jong Nam.

North Korea opposed Malaysian officials even conducting a post-mortem examination, while Malaysia has resisted giving up the body without getting DNA samples and confirmation from next of kin.

The delegation includes Ri Tong Il, a former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Nations, who told reporters outside the North Korean embassy that the diplomats were in Malaysia to retrieve the body and seek the release of the North Korean arrested in the case.

He said the delegation also wants "development of the friendly relationship" between North Korea and Malaysia.

Malaysian officials have confirmed that the victim of the attack was Kim Jong Nam.

North Korea, however, has identified him only as a North Korean national with a diplomatic passport bearing the name Kim Chol.

Health minister Subramaniam Sathasivam said Malaysia will continue to insist that the body be positively identified by medical examiners through DNA or other means before it can be released.

He said the protocol is to release it to the next-of-kin once identification is completed.

Asked how long Malaysia can keep Kim Jong Nam's body at the morgue, he said "we can keep (it) as long as we want".

Police have said the body will eventually have to be released to the North Korean embassy if there is no claim by Kim Jong Nam's family members.

South Korean legislators said on Monday that the country's National Intelligence Service told them in a private briefing that four of the North Koreans identified as suspects are from the Ministry of State Security, the North's spy organisation.

AP


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