Malaysia: Vietnamese Woman to Stand Trial in Kim Killing


Malaysian prosecutors rejected an appeal to drop a murder charge against one of the two women accused of using the deadly nerve agent VX to murder the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, just days after allowing her co-defendant to walk free.

An MP today hit out at the attorney-general's (AG) decision to free Indonesian Siti Aisyah but not Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong of the charge of murdering Kim Jong Nam, calling it "mind-boggling".

She has been on trial for a year and a half over the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport.

"God knows that Siti and I did nothing wrong", Huong told reporters in court through an interpreter, according to the Guardian.

"The way I see it she's not there physically or mentally", the judge said having met her in chambers prior to the start of the hearing.

The Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia, Mr Le Quy Quynh, told AFP at the court: "I'm very disappointed that the court did not free Doan". He said Vietnam's justice minister had written to the Malaysian attorney general seeking Huong's release and that Vietnam will keep lobbying Malaysia to free her.

They were the only people in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed.

Malaysia's attorney general ordered the murder case to proceed against the Vietnamese woman accused in the killing of the North Korean leader's estranged half brother.

Proceedings were scheduled to resume Monday with Huong, 30, testifying - but the unexpected release of Aisyah lead to the trial being adjourned.

Given her mental and physical condition, the judge accepted her lawyer's assertion that Huong was in no condition to take the stand and give evidence in her own defence, agreeing to postpone the case until April 1.

On Monday a murder charge was unexpectedly withdrawn against the Indonesian woman accused alongside her, Siti Aisyah, and she flew back to Jakarta to a jubilant welcome.

In one, a woman identified as Huong puts her hands on Kim's face, while a blurry image shows someone the prosecution identified as Siti Aisyah hurrying away.

Huong's counsel Hisyam Teh Poh Teik described the decision as "unfair" to his client.

In a statement, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said subjecting Doan to further prosecution, but not her co-accused, "particularly when a prima facie case has been found against both of them is, with respect, unprecedented and regrettable". Speaking to Vietnam embassy officials she shook violently, and pleaded with them.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging in Malaysia.

Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family.

Some South Korean lawmakers said the North Korean regime had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family's dynastic rule. The North denies the claim.



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