Malaysia Moves Ahead With Kim Jong Nam Murder Trial

Clay Curtis
March 16, 2019

The Attorney General has the prerogative to drop charges against Siti Aisyah and continue the prosecution of Doan Thi Huong in Kim Jong-nam's murder, the Malaysian Bar said.

Malaysian prosecutor Mohamad Iskandar Ahmad told the Shah Alam High Court in Kuala Lumpur to proceed with the case against 30-year-old Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, Kyodo news agency reported. "Her case is the same as Siti Aisyah's".

Vietnam's foreign ministry said it regretted the Malaysian court's decision not to immediately free Huong.

'Both the accused have said they were made scapegoats by North Korea, both of them said they were doing video pranks - very obviously there is discrimination, ' said Hisyam Teh Poh Teik.

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

Ms Huong says she was tricked into taking part and believed she was part of a TV prank. They were the only people arrested for the crime, after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed.

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

No reason, however, was given by the prosecutors in the court for rejecting Huong's appeal but letting Aisyah go free.

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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.

Prosecutors had sprung a surprise on Monday by asking the court to drop the charge against Siti Aisyah and free her.

Huong's lawyer sought a deferment of the trial Thursday, saying she was unwell and needed medical treatment.

"My client has not been able to sleep for three nights and only slept for an hour after the charge against (another accused) Siti Aisyah was withdrawn".

When asked by the judge if she was unwell, Huong stood in the dock and said she suffered from tension and stress.

Doan, who looked pale and exhausted in the courtroom, broke down and cried following the ruling.

Quỳnh later told CNN thatthe Vietnamese justice minister had sent a letter to Malaysia's attorney general requesting Huong's release. The defense part of the trial was to have started Monday.

In Huong's village in Vietnam, her family was extremely sad and disappointed. 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.

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