Malaysia nixes Vietnam call to free defendant in Kim murder

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong is escorted by Malaysian police at the Shah Alam High Court outside Kuala Lumpur

But his daughter is still in custody after a Malaysian prosecutor said Thursday Doan Thi Huong would remain on trial for the gruesome murder of Kim Jong Nam with a toxic nerve agent at a busy Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017.

The Vietnamese government had made the appeal after Doan Thi Huong's co-accused, Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah, was released on Monday in a shock decision.

"God knows me and Siti Aisyah didn't do anything", Huong said, according to her interpreter. Huong told reporters that she wasn't bitter that Aisyah was freed and she was not.

"We expect the government's assistance so that Huong can soon be home. After the Indonesian suspect was freed, Nam Dinh Police came to us saying that we should rest assured over her case".

Lawyers for the women have previously said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill. Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Ministry sent a formal letter to Malaysian Attorney General Tommy Thomas, to which he responded on Friday last week. Officials there did not respond promptly to requests from BenarNews to confirm the information as relayed by her defense team. "The AG favored one party to the other". "Our constitution has been violated".

Earlier, Azmi asked Doan if she was not well, and the woman, who was standing in the dock and looked pale and weak, replied "I'm feeling stressed".

"The accused has not been feeling well".

Judge Azmin Ariffin accepted Teh's request and adjourned the case to 9 a.m. on April 1.

Vietnam said it was disappointed in the outcome of Thursday's hearing.

Vietnam's foreign ministry expressed "regret" at the outcome while a politician criticised it as "mind-boggling".

He said government lawyers were being unfair to Huong, because her case was similar to Aisyah's situation. The women claimed they had no idea they had been groomed by North Korean agents to carry out the murder and thought they were taking part in a prank TV show.

They remain at large despite an Interpol "red notice", equivalent to an worldwide arrest warrant.

Kim Jong Nam, left, exiled half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, in Narita, Japan, on May 4, 2001, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on May 9, 2016, in Pyongyang, North Korea. The North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur was defaced with graffiti just hours before the trial was to resume. They were the only people arrested for the crime, after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed. "If Siti Aisyah could be released, why not Doan?" Ramkarpal said in a statement Thursday. He then ordered a doctor evaluate her. "If she is convicted, she will always wonder if Siti Aisyah was equally culpable", Ramkarpal said.

Both women were facing murder charges over the death of Kim Jong-nam.

Malaysian prosecutors withdrew murder charges against her over the death of the victim.

Reported by RFA's Vietnamese Service and by BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service.

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