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Malaysia Rejects to Free Doan Thi Huong in Kim Jong Nam Killing

16 March 2019

Huong's legal team had petitioned prosecutors to release her on the same grounds as Aisyah, arguing it would be unfair to free one of the co-defendants but not the other.

Counsel for Doan Thi-Huong, Hisham Teh Poh Teik, told the court that she had not slept for the past three nights following the decision by the Malaysian attorney general to drop the charges against Siti.

"We expect the government's assistance so that Huong can soon be home".

Rather, the move appears to have come in response to repeated requests from the Indonesian government for her release.

She has been on trial for a year and a half over the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport that shocked the world. He urged the attorney-general to be transparent and explain why he dropped the case against Aisyah but not Huong.

"It does not bring confidence to our criminal justice system".

"[The] AG has not acted fairly".

The murder of Kim Jong Nam triggered a nationwide manhunt and a diplomatic crisis. The Guardian reported that Huong looked pale and drawn.

Two women were accused of smearing a toxic nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong Nam as he walked through a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal in 2017.

Teh asked for an adjournment, saying that Doan was in no state to testify in her defense because she was depressed and felt ill.

"I have no idea what is going on", Huong said in the courtroom Thursday.

Vietnam's ministers of justice and foreign affairs are communicating with their Malaysian counterparts to secure his client's release, Mr Teh added.

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

Huong's lawyer and Vietnam's ambassador to Malaysia both criticized the decision.

But four men believed to be North Koreans, who fled Malaysia on the day of the murder, have been charged with masterminding it.

North Korea has consistently denied involvement in the killing, though US, South Korean and Malaysian authorities have said Pyongyang was responsible. 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 North Koreans then promptly left the country. They also said that government lawyers failed to prove that the women had aimed to kill Kim. "If Siti Aisyah could be released, why not Doan?" Ramkarpal said in a statement Thursday. She must be given the opportunity to be attended by a doctor.

Huong is now the only person on trial for the Cold War-style killing, and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Prosecutors had sprung a surprise on Monday by asking the court to drop the charge against Siti Aisyah and free her.

Malaysia Rejects to Free Doan Thi Huong in Kim Jong Nam Killing