Friday, 22 March, 2019

Vietnamese woman in N. Korea murder case seeks freedom

Doan Thi Huong broke down in court after she lost a bid to be released from a charge of murdering Kim Jong Nam in 2017 Doan Thi Huong broke down in court after she lost a bid to be released from a charge of murdering Kim Jong Nam in 2017
Jeannette Daniel | 16 March, 2019, 09:30

The attorney general is pushing ahead with the trial of Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong in the murder of Kim Jong Nam despite the unexpected decision this week to free her co-accused.

Doan Thi Huong is on trial for the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam at klia2 in Sepang.

Siti Aisyah was freed from custody without acquittal and allowed to return home Monday, a day before Moon arrived in Kuala Lumpur for a three-day state visit.

Prosecutors did not reveal why they rejected Huong's appeal but let Aisyah go free.

The Malaysian court had dropped the charge against Siti Aisyah and freed her on Monday.

Huong told reporters, "Only God knows that we did not commit the murder".

He said Huong only slept an hour a night since Aisyah's release and was not in a position to testify.

The prosecution told the Malaysian court Thursday that the attorney general had considered "all reasons" but it wouldn't drop the case, Al Jazeera reported.

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"It is so unfair. we are calling for help from the most senior people at the trial to consider releasing my daughter, free her as soon as possible", she said.

"It's our complaint that the public prosecution has not acted fairly and justly to Doan Thi Huong", her lawyer Hisyam Teh, who asked for an adjournment on the grounds that his client was unwell.

Her trial, which was supposed to start yesterday, has been postponed until April 1 after the court found the accused unfit to take the stand.

South Korea accuses Pyongyang of plotting the murder of Kim Jong Un's estranged relative, who was once seen as heir apparent to the North's leadership.

"In the case of Doan, she is completely innocent and she is a scapegoat, same as Siti Aisyah".

Huong and Siti, 27, were charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam in the concourse area of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport by smearing his face with a toxic nerve agent and the court ruled last August that there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.

Malaysian prosecutors withdrew murder charges against her over the death of the victim. Prosecutors alleged that Huong and Aisyah wiped Kim's face with the chemical before washing themselves. 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 North Koreans then promptly left the country. "If you want to do something, you have to understand what is that exactly", she said. Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the request of his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah during their phone talks Wednesday, according to a Vietnamese news outlet.

Vietnamese authorities had been tight-lipped about the case.

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