North Korea’s objection delayed post-mortem, says pathologist

Muzliza Mustafa

Police maintain security outside the Shah Alam High Court on day three of the trial of Indonesian Siti Aisyah and Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who are both accused of murdering North Korean Kim Jong-nam. – The Malaysian Insight pic, October 4, 2017.

A POST mortem was performed on the body of Kim Jong-nam a day late due to objection from the North Korean embassy, the court heard today.

Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensics pathologist Dr Mohd Shah Mahmood, who conducted the post-mortem on the man identified as “Kim Chol” on his passport, said this during cross examination at the trial of  25-year-old Indonesian Siti Aisyah and 29-year-old Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who are both accused of murdering Jong-nam.

“There was an objection made by the embassy which their representative made to PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) and to a representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs ,” said Dr Mohd Shah.

Dr Mohd Shah had initially told the court that he did not know who filed the objection as it was conveyed in writing, but under pressure, said it was from a representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Dr Mohd Shah concurred that there was pressure from the North Korean embassy not to perform the post mortem, which had caused a delay.

“We postponed it until we get the approval,” he said.

During questioning by the defence counsel Naran Singh, the pathologist said he asked for but did not receive the medical record of the deceased.

Dr Mohd Shah told the court the deceased was identified by the investigating officer and the body was released without a DNA match with the approval by the investigating officer.

“I only have one blood sample from the deceased and was not aware if DNA matching was made to confirm the identity of the deceased.”

This led the defence to argue that it was not confirmed that the body was indeed that of “Kim Chol”.

The trial resumed after a break with the testimony of Dr Ranjini Sivaganabalan, a clinical toxicologist at Tengku Ampuan Rahimah in Klang.

The court adjourned at 4.50pm and will resume tomorrow with star witness Dr Raja Subraminiam, chemistry expert at the Chemical Weapons Centre.

He tested the blood specimens in the Jong-nam murder case and had found traces of VX nerve agent in  deceased’s blood sample taken by Dr Mohd Shah. 

On February 13, Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, died after he had his face wiped by the two women on trial today, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 departure hall.

He was pronounced dead at Putrajaya Hospital upon arrival, about an hour after the face-wiping incident.

His death has caused political tension between Malaysia and North Korea.

Malaysia closed down its embassy in North Korea and expelled the North Korean ambassador after declaring him persona non grata over his criticism of Malaysia’s handling of the murder.

In retaliation, North Korea barred Malaysians from entering the country.

Malaysia has since been tightlipped over its diplomatic relationship with North Korea, but has yet to declare that it has cut all it ties with the dictatorship. – October 4, 2017.

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