The assassination of Kim Jong-nam

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"It does not mean they are found guilty, it just means that he (the judge) found that the prosecution have proven there is a prima facie case".

Indonesian Ambassador Rusdi Kirana told reporters that his government will abide by the ruling.

Judge Azmi Ariffin said the evidence presented in court since the trial started in October pointed to a "well-planned conspiracy" with a group of North Korean suspects who are still at large.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese, face the death penalty on charges of murdering Kim Jong-nam by smearing his face with VX, a nerve agent banned by the United Nations, at a Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13 previous year. The women's defense teams maintain that they are merely scapegoats, pinning the blame on the four North Korean fugitives who supplied the lethal chemical agent.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, who is on trial for the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader, is escorted as she leaves at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Aug. 16, 2018.

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The judge is anticipated to decide Thursday whether to acquit the women of murder or call them to enter their defense, which could take several months.

"She's an innocent girl and we believe the court will find the same", he told Reuters by telephone from his home in the northern province of Nam Dinh. Huong's brother, Doan Van Binh, said the family hopes she will receive a fair trial. All were believed to be staying at the North Korean embassy or to have already left the country. Doan also intends to testify in court, though it is unclear when she will do so.

"We were disappointed when the court ordered Siti to answer the charge against her even though we have adduced evidence to rebut the prosecution's case", Gooi said.

The trial has seen CCTV footage of Huong coming up behind Kim as he waited to check in for his flight to Macau, and clasping her hands on his face. The judge could have chosen to acquit the women if he thought the evidence was insufficient. He said they seemed anxious and tense before washing their hands, but relaxed afterward.

A portly North Korean man, later identified as Kim Jong Nam, dies after being attacked at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13.

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"The onus is on the accused to explain their conduct", Azmi said.

He added, "I cannot rule out that this could be a political assassination".

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, confirmed that the Russian president had sent the invitation to Mr Kim as part of a congratulatory telegram on the 73rd anniversary of North Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

Kim, the eldest son in the family that has ruled North Korea since its founding, had been living overseas for years after falling out of favor.

Kim Jong-nam was largely estranged from his family, after being bypassed for inheriting the leadership in favour of his younger half-brother, Kim Jong-un.

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