Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese suspect in Kim killing

Leroy Wright
March 16, 2019

Huong and Aisyah were accused and jailed on charges of poisoning Kim Jong-Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13, 2017, with an internationally-prohibited toxic nerve agent classified as a chemical weapon.

A Malaysian court on Thursday announced it would temporarily postpone the trial of Vietnamese citizen Đoàn Thị Hương, a suspect in the murder of a North Korean national in 2017, due to her health condition, Vietnam News Agency reports.

Earlier, Hương's lawyer asked the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General of Malaysia to release her after the Indonesian suspect had been freed.

Vietnam had been pushing for her release, and the decision comes days after her Indonesian co-defendant, Siti Aisyah, was unexpectedly freed.

A Vietnamese woman accused of the murder of the half-brother of North Korea's leader with nerve agent in an airport will stand trial, a court ruled today despite official pleas to drop her case. Conviction could carry the death penalty.

Minh said in the phone conversation that senior leaders and the people of Vietnam had paid close attention to the trial, the government statement said.

"I believe that my daughter will be released too because she is innocent. We haven't received any information from Malaysia recently, and we are eager to hear from them now", Thanh told Reuters.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong who was a suspect in the murder case of North Korean leader's half brother Kim Jong Nam is escorted as she arrives at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Kim Jong-Nam murder suspect loses bid for release

Lawyers for the two women argued they were duped by the North Korean agents, who tricked them into thinking they were taking part in a reality TV show.

South Korea has accused the North of ordering the hit, which Pyongyang denies.

As Huong broke down in the dock, the judge said she was in not fit state to testify and ordered that the trial be adjourned until April 1.

The prosecutor did not give reason why charges were not being dropped for Ms Huong, 30, who is now the sole defendant on trial for Mr Kim's murder and could face death by hanging if convicted.

The Vietnamese side has also mentioned the case during meetings at all levels, even the most senior levels, with the Malaysian side, she added. 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. The trial featured video recordings of two women allegedly assaulting Mr Kim. Prosecutors alleged that Huong and Aisyah wiped Kim's face with the chemical before washing themselves.

Interpol issued a red alert for four North Koreans who Malaysian police identified as suspects and who left the country hours after the murder.

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