Malaysia pushes trial of Vietnamese woman in Kim murder

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong who was a suspect in the murder case of North Korean leader's half brother Kim Jong Nam reacts as she leaves the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Her Indonesian co-accused was released this week after prosecutors dropped a murder charge, but authorities refused to do the same for Huong. "Her case is the same as Siti Aisyah's".

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh urged his Malaysian counterpart Tuesday to "ensure fair judgement for Huong & to set her free", according to an image tweeted by his ministry.

"I don't understand why the other girl was released, but not my daughter", she said.

Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang told a news conference yesterday: "We very much regret that the Malaysian High Court did not free Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong immediately".

Describing the decision not to withdraw the charge as "perverse", Teh accused the attorney-general of favoring one party over the other.

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. They were the only people arrested for the crime, after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed.

Defence lawyers have maintained the women were pawns in an assassination orchestrated by North Korean agents.

A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer that Aisyah, Huong and the four missing North Koreans engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" to kill Kim Jong Nam.

Huong's lawyer had sought a delay for the trial Thursday. In one, a woman identified as Huong puts her hands on Mr Kim's face, while a blurry image shows someone identified as Ms Siti hurrying away. Teh said Huong was unwell and needed medical treatment. The defense phase of the trial was to have begun Monday.

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

After the ruling, Huong was seen sobbing as she spoke with Vietnamese embassy officials. They did not disclose whether Huong's detention was discussed during Kim Jong Un's visit last month to Hanoi, where he met US President Donald Trump and Vietnamese leaders.

She was crushed when she did not get the good news she was hoping for. I'm very sad and disappointed.

Hương said she was innocent and wished to continue receiving support from relevant agencies.

In Vietnam, her stepmother Nguyen Thi Vy said the decision saddened her.

"It's so unfair. They were together, did the same thing", she said.

Doan would face the death penalty if convicted of murdering Kim Jong Nam.

Teh suggested Attorney General and Public Prosecutor Tommy Tomas practiced "discrimination" in releasing Siti Aisyah but not his client, Bloomberg reported Thursday.

As of late Thursday night (local time), the Attorney-General's Chamber had not issued a statement about the decision in Doan's case.


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