Lawyer for Kim Jong-Nam murder suspect calls for second autopsy

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Vietnamese suspect Doan Thi Huong (left) was charged with the murder of Kim Jong-Nam during a court appearance in Sepang, on March 1, 2017

The lawyer of a Vietnamese woman accused of murdering the half-brother of North Korea's leader questioned Malaysia's ability to assess the nerve agent used in the killing and called Monday for a second autopsy.

Kim Jong-Nam was poisoned with a lethal dose of VX, which is listed by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction, after he arrived to board a flight at Kuala Lumpur International Airport last month.

Airport CCTV footage shows two women approaching the 45-year-old and apparently smearing his face with a cloth. Indonesian Siti Aisyah, 25, and Doan Thi Huong, 28, from Vietnam, have been charged with the murder and face the death penalty if found guilty.

Huong's lawyer on Monday suggested that Malaysia does not have the necessary expertise in the VX nerve agent, adding that he planned to request a second post-mortem.

"How is (it) that my client is accused of using VX nerve agent in her hand and applying it to the face of the deceased and not suffering any illness herself?" lawyer S. Selvam told AFP.

He also called for VX experts from Japan and Iraq to be involved in the findings, as well as "pathologists from North Korea".

While North Korea has not acknowledged the dead man's identity, it has repeatedly disparaged the murder investigation and has accused Malaysia of conniving with its enemies.

A diplomatic dispute erupted last month when Malaysian police rejected North Korean diplomats' demands to hand over Kim's body.

South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un had ordered the killing of his estranged half-brother, who had lived overseas for years but had voiced criticism of the regime, and engaged two outsiders to carry it out.

Traces of the poison, which is banned around the world, were found on Kim's face and eyes, police said.

One of the suspects was said to have exhibited signs of VX poisoning -- vomiting and dizziness -- while in custody, but police did not say which woman had fallen ill.

Four North Korean men wanted for the murder are still at large.

Police are also seeking the second secretary in Kuala Lumpur's North Korean embassy to assist in the murder, and have issued an arrest warrant for a North Korean airline employee.