Malaysia Rejects Acquittal Bid for Vietnamese Suspect in Kim Jong Nam Murder

Blanche Robertson
March 16, 2019

But his daughter is still in custody after a Malaysian prosecutor said Thursday Doan Thi Huong would remain on trial for the gruesome murder of Kim Jong Nam with a toxic nerve agent at a busy Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017.

During the trial, the court was shown CCTV footage of two women assaulting Kim Jong Nam while he prepared to check in for a flight, allegedly smearing the liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, on his face.

The Thursday ruling to go forward with the murder trial for Doan Thi Huong, 30, follows Malaysian Siti Aisyah, 26, her co-accused in the murder, gaining her freedom earlier in the week.

However Huong told reporters through an interpreter that she wasn't bitter Aisyah was freed and she was not.

Huong's lawyer said he would make a second bid to get the charge against her dropped, and said failing to free her following Aisyah's release "does not bring confidence to our criminal justice system".

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong is escorted by police as she leaves Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on March 14, 2019.

"We will request Malaysia to be fair and to release her as soon as possible".

Huong stood in the dock and responded to the judge's questions on the deferment request, saying she suffered from tension and stress.

The judge agreed to postpone the trial until April 1 but warned there should be no more delay.

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

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North Korea has consistently denied involvement in the killing, though US, South Korean and Malaysian authorities have said Pyongyang was responsible.

Siti was suddenly released Monday without an acquittal after the prosecution asked for her charges to be dropped without giving an explanation.

Two other North Korean nationals, whom Malaysian police had identified as persons of interest in the investigation, were on the same commercial flight that carried Kim's body out of Malaysia. They have said they thought they were taking part in a harmless prank for a TV show.

The Indonesian government had repeatedly lobbied for charges against Ms Siti Aisyah to be dropped and for her to be allowed to return home.

The go-ahead was given by the Malaysian attorney general, the court was informed.

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

"My message to the other woman workers, please don't easily trust the others".

Vietnam had increased pressure on Malaysia to release Huong since Aisyah was freed, with the country's foreign minister this week pressing his Malaysian counterpart on the issue and the justice minister writing to the attorney-general. "If you want to do something, you have to understand what is that exactly", she said.

He was once seen as a future leader of the isolated country, but when his father Kim Jong-il died, he was bypassed in favour of the younger Kim.

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