Lawyer for Vietnamese suspect calls for Malaysian authorities to conduct ‘new autopsy’ on Kim Jong-nam’s body
Attorney questioned how, if the VX nerve agent was used, neither the two women nor anyone else at the airport were harmed
A lawyer for one of the women accused of poisoning the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader claims there are serious holes in the case.
In an interview published on Sunday by Vietnam’s state-run online newspaper Zing, attorney Selvam Shanmugam, who represents Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam, said allegations the North Korean man, Kim Jong-nam, had existing health problems should be cause for a new autopsy.
Jong-nam was fatally poisoned at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13, and so far Doan Thi Huong and an Indonesian woman have been charged with murder. Malaysian authorities said the toxic VX nerve agent was used in the attack.
North Korea has not acknowledged that the man was Kim Jong-am, but identified him as Kim Chol, the name on in his diplomatic passport
Shanmugam’s comments come after a North Korean official, the country’s former ambassador to the UN, said Kim Chol had heart problems, diabetes and high blood pressure.
“There were reasons for the North Korean ambassador to say so. I believe that there are issues that the Malaysian attorney general has to consider,” Shanmugam was quoted as saying, adding “they should have a new autopsy”.
Shanmugam questioned how, if the VX nerve agent was used, neither the two women nor anyone else at the airport were harmed: “Was it the toxic VX agent or Kim Chol’s illnesses?”
Shanmugam said he would meet Huong for the first time in prison on Monday.
Doan Van Thanh, Huong’s father, said he met Shanmugam on Saturday and agreed to have him represent his daughter.
“I believe that my daughter is not guilty,” Thanh said.
The death of Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, has unleashed a diplomatic battle between Malaysia and North Korea. Malaysian authorities said Kim died within 20 minutes after two women smeared his face with VX, a banned nerve agent considered a weapon of mass destruction.
North Korea has rejected Malaysia’s autopsy finding that VX was involved.
The Malaysian government on Saturday gave ambassador Kang Chol 48 hours to leave the country after he refused to apologise for his strong accusations over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation into the killing.