Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

Evarado Alatorre
Марта 14, 2019

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.

Huong was one of two women charged with the February 2017 murder of Kim Jong Nam, an offense punishable by hanging.

The Vietnamese defendant, who had to be helped out of court by two police officers following the announcement, tearfully told reporters: "I am depressed".

"We will request Malaysia to have fair judgment and release her as soon as possible", he said. "I am innocent. I want my family to pray for me", AFP reported.

Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad gave no explanation for the refusal to drop the murder charge against Doan Thi Huong, who is the only suspect in custody after the stunning decision Monday to drop the case against Indonesian Siti Aisyah.

The presiding judge said the defendant was not "physically and mentally" well enough to continue with the proceedings. 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.

Their lawyers presented them as scapegoats and said the real killers were four North Koreans.

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

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".

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The pair had always denied murder, saying they were tricked by North Korean spies into carrying out the Cold War-style killing using a highly toxic nerve agent, and believed it was a prank for a reality TV show.

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.

Abdul Rashid Ismail, a leading Malaysian criminal lawyer who was not involved in the case, said the decision to prosecute Huong but not Aisyah was "clearly unfair".

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".

Huong was sobbing as she spoke to Vietnamese Embassy officials after Thursday's court hearing ended.

Huong would face a death sentence if she is convicted of murder.

Kim Jong-nam was the older half-brother of North Korea's authoritarian ruler, Kim Jong-un.

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. Pyongyang denies the claim.

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