Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Vietnamese woman in Kim Jong-nam murder case loses bid for release

Vietnamese woman in Kim Jong-nam murder case loses bid for release

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

In other images from the Asia-Pacific region this week, Malaysian prosecutors unexpectedly dropped a murder charge against Indonesian Siti Aisyah in the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother.

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

Minh said in the phone conversation that senior leaders and the people of Vietnam had paid close attention to the trial, the government statement said.

Indonesian defendant Siti Aisyah was released as a result of a political decision by the Malaysian Attorney General, in consideration of a request from Jakarta to take "into account the good relations between our respective countries".

He said he believes his daughter is innocent and told her to "stay calm and hope for the best outcome". "We haven't received any information from Malaysia recently, and we are eager to hear from them now", Thanh told Reuters.

But on Thursday, lead prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad told the High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, that the attorney-general had ordered the case against Huong to proceed. Both maintained through counsel that they were made scapegoats by North Korea.

Kim Jong-nam was assassinated with liquid VX nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

In late March 2017, the body of Kim, who lived in Macau, was eventually returned to North Korea despite weeks of diplomatic feuding between Kuala Lumpur and Pyongyang over his killing.

Huong's stepmother Nguyen Thi Vy was so hopeful her stepdaughter would be back Thursday she bought extra cassava at the market for a celebration meal with the media that had gathered at her home since early Thursday.

Outgoing Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said Tommy Thomas may have his reasons for not explaining why the Indonesian woman was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, citing the current proceedings against Doan whose application for her charge to be dropped was dismissed yesterday.

"We hope the attorney general review the evidence and review the decision", said defence lawyer Naran Singh.

Both the women had pleaded not guilty to the murder.

Prosecutors have contended the women were trained assassins who knew they were handling poison because they carefully held out their hands away from their bodies and went to separate restrooms to wash their hands afterward. The global police organization Interpol has issued red notices asking governments around the world to send them back to face trial. 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.

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