Kim Jong-nam murder: Malaysia rejects suspect's release plea

16 March, 2019, 06:28 | Author: Wade Massey
  • Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong center is escorted by police as she arrives at Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam Malaysia on March 14

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.

The decision means that Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam will remain as the only suspect in the case still behind bars, CNN reported.

She is now the only person on trial for the murder, following the decision earlier this week to drop charges against an Indonesian woman, Siti Aisyah. Under Malaysian law, intent to kill is critical to a murder charge.

Vietnamese diplomatic efforts have proved less effective on the part of Doan, though Hisham confirmed that the embassy of Vietnam in Malaysia, as well as the Vietnamese minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs were "communication with the Malaysian government to secure the release of Doan Thi Huong".

Government lawyers announced the decision in court Thursday.

"She is not fit, physically and mentally, and I request for today's hearing to be postponed".

Doan, who was supposed to enter her defence yesterday, and Siti Aisyah were charged with four others still at large with the murder of Jong-nam at the departure hall of the KL International Airport 2 (klia2) at 9 am on Feb 13, 2017.

Another lawyer for Huong urged Malaysia's attorney-general to explain why he dropped the case against Aisyah but not Huong.

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After the court hearing, Teh told reporters that the adjournment was also meant to allow time for the Vietnamese government to speak to the Malaysian government.

Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia, Le Quy Quynh, told AFP at the court: "I'm very disappointed that the court did not free Doan".

The trial began in October 2017 but there had been no hearings since August previous year when the prosecution finished presenting its case.

Four men from North Korea who were suspected of being behind the attack fled Malaysia the day Kim was killed, leaving Huong and Siti Aisyah the only two people in custody in relation to the crime.

In Huong's village in Vietnam, her family was crestfallen.

Experts have said the case against Aisyah appeared weaker since there was no video evidence of her with Kim at the airport.

Huong could face a death sentence if she is convicted. "They were charged with the same thing, it's such an injustice". Prosecutors alleged that Huong and Aisyah wiped Kim's face with the chemical before washing themselves. His body was repatriated in exchange for nine Malaysian embassy officials and their families who were stuck in the North Korean capital for six weeks amid the wrangling. The worldwide police organization Interpol has issued red notices asking governments around the world to send them back to face trial.

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