Vietnam asks Malaysia to free Jong-nam murder accused

Vietnam Asks Malaysia to Free Woman Accused of Poisoning Kim Jong Nam

Malaysia's prime minister on Tuesday defended the release of an Indonesian woman accused of killing North Korean leader's half-brother after prosecutors dropped charges against her.

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong (C) is escorted by Malaysian police after a hearing at the Shah Alam High Court, outside Kuala Lumpur on March 11, 2019 during trial for her alleged role in the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh made the plea in a phone call Tuesday with his counterpart, Saifuddin Abdullah.

Ms Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong (30), from Vietnam, had been charged with killing Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

On Monday, Indonesian officials released a letter from the country's justice minister to Malaysia's attorney-general, which said Aisyah had been "deceived" and sought her release.

Ms Doan was due to testify yesterday after months of delay but the trial was adjourned after her lawyer said she was "traumatised" to learn she now faced the charges alone.

Aisyah and Huong have maintained since their arrests that they thought they were participating in a prank show and were going to apply lotion to a man's face.

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Salim said the AG, who doubled up as public prosecutor, had every right to drop the charge against Siti Aisyah.

Authorities believe that North Korean agents recruited Huong, who hails from Vietnam, while she worked at a bar in Hanoi. "I don't know the details of what happened but the prosecution can withdraw the charge".

Gooi Soon Seng, Siti Aisyah's lawyer, said his client was "a scapegoat".

Kim Jong-Nam died on the way to the hospital less than half an hour after receiving the poison that was identified as the VX nerve agent, a colourless and odourless oily liquid classified by the United Nations as a weapon of mass destruction.

"I have no information (regarding that)", he said, in response to questions at a press conference in Parliament, reported The Star.

Kim Jong Nam had fled North Korea shortly after his brother, Kim Jong Un, took over after their father's death.

Aisyah's swift release had sparked anger in Malaysia, and accusations that the government had caved in to diplomatic pressure.

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