a birthday and assassination rivers pkg_00000125.jpg
Who is assassination suspect Siti Aisyah?
01:41 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Aisyah's friends said she was "naive" and "easily manipulated'

The Indonesian claims she believed she was swabbing Kim with baby oil, not nerve toxin

CNN  — 

One of the women suspected of murdering Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, celebrated her 25th birthday at a Kuala Lumpur restaurant the night before the killing, footage obtained by CNN shows.

Siti Aisyah, an Indonesian citizen, is seen smiling awkwardly as people sang her “Happy Birthday”.

“And now the person next to me will become a (celebrity),” one friend says in the video she filmed that night, prompting Aisyah to laugh.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah who is accused of murdering Kim Jong Nam.

The scenes are in stark contrast to those shown on security footage from the next morning, February 13, when police say Aisyah and a Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, approached Kim Jong Nam as he passed through terminal 2 of Kuala Lumpur airport.

Police say they they smeared his face with VX nerve agent, one of the deadliest chemicals on earth. Some 20 minutes later, authorities say, Kim was dead.

‘Naive and easily manipulated’

The footage was filmed by Aisyah’s friends and given to CNN. Three days after the celebrations in the restaurant, Aisyah would be in custody along with Doan Thi Huong, from Vietnam. Police say the two women were identified in the airport security footage.

Authorities from Aisya and Doan’s home countries say both women maintain they thought they were part of a TV prank show. Aisyah thought the substance she rubbed on Kim’s face was “a kind of oil, baby oil, something like that,” said Andreano Erwin, Indonesia’s deputy ambassador to Malaysia.

Another friend, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity to protect her privacy, said Aisyah was “naive” and easily “manipulated.”

“Whatever that people said, she would believe. She would only follow,” the friend said.

The friend, who has known Aisyah for two years, said she was a “friendly” woman but sometimes kept things to herself.

“For things involving work, she did not say. We don’t know (her job). She keeps her privacy. Maybe because it never came up in our conversation,” the friend said.

‘Happy birthday’

Aisyah’s friends told CNN they wanted to help her celebrate her birthday, and chipped in to pay for the dinner. Footage from the night shows elaborate drinks and large steaks.

In one video, Aisyah blows out the candle on her birthday cake while everyone in the room cheers and bangs their cutlery on their glasses.

In the background, “Miracle Mile” by the Cold War Kids plays as the camera pans over the food. “I was supposed to do great things,” the song blares.

On Wednesday, more than two weeks after that celebration, authorities say both Aisyah and Doan will be charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam. If convicted, they face execution by hanging.

Salhan K Ahmad in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this report.