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Jokowi Urges Siti Aisyah to Temporarily Stay Put at Home

15 March 2019

Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the plea in a phone call Tuesday with his counterpart, Malaysia's Saifuddin Abdullah, according to a statement on the ministry website.

She had been on trial alongside a Vietnamese woman, Doan Thi Huong, who was left distraught as she was not freed at the same time.

They stood accused of poisoning Mr Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon - in February 2017, Reuters reported.

It comes two days after a Malaysian court dropped charges against Huong's co-defendant, Indonesian Siti Aisyah.

In her defense, Siti said that some people - who she thinks were Korean or Japanese - paid $90 for a "prank" to be aired in a TV show.

Siti and Huong were arrested after security cameras in the airport showed the two women smearing the toxic agent on Kim's face.

The court will resume proceedings on Huong's case on Thursday, pending a reply from Mr Thomas to a request that charges against her be withdrawn. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.

Gooi Soon Seng, Siti Aisyah's lawyer, said his client was "a scapegoat".

Indonesia's government said its continued high-level lobbying had resulted in Aisyah's release and alleged the young migrant worker had no idea she was being "manipulated by North Korean intelligence". "Both of them were charged on the same evidence, the defence was called on fairly the same grounds", said Mr Salim Bashir, one of her lawyers.

Kim Jong Nam had fled North Korea shortly after his brother, Kim Jong Un, took over after their father's death. Authorities believe that Kim Jong Un had his half-brother assassinated as part of an effort to consolidate his power after he became the ruler of North Korea.

He denied that the Malaysian government caved in to diplomatic pressure to free Siti.

"I told Siti to stay put for the meantime until the situation cools down, which would let her plan a better life ahead", said President Jokowi after welcoming Siti Aisyah at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta today, March 12.

"I have no information (regarding that)", he said, in response to questions at a press conference in Parliament, reported The Star.

Jokowi Urges Siti Aisyah to Temporarily Stay Put at Home