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Malaysia: Won't Drop Case Against Vietnamese in Kim Murder

14 March, 2019, 16:24 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Vietnam regrets Malaysian rejection of appeal to free murder accused

Malaysian authorities have rejected a plea to drop the murder case against Doan Thi Huong, the Vietnamese woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korea's leader.

A Vietnamese woman charged with assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother has lost her bid for release in Malaysia, days after her Indonesian co-accused was freed.

"This means that the court takes the view that if Doan and Siti Aisyah were to remain silent in their defence, they would be convicted of the murder of Jong Nam on the evidence presented by the prosecution so far".

Huong's lawyers said CCTV video showing Huong walking up behind Kim and putting her hands over his face should have no bearing on the attorney general's decision, because both women were mounting the same defence and it had already been chose to free Siti Aisyah.

Huong's lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik told the court the decision was "perverse", as her case was so similar to Aisyah's.

"It does not bring confidence to our criminal justice system".

Proceedings were scheduled to resume on Monday with Ms Huong testifying - but the unexpected release of her co-accused led to the trial being adjourned so the Vietnamese suspect could also seek her freedom.

On Thursday, the same court ruled that Doan's trial could proceed, but would be postponed until 1 April after she was declared "mentally and physically" unfit to testify.

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In Huong's village in Vietnam, her family was crestfallen. Aisyah and Huong have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show.

In Huong's home village her father Doan Van Thanh, who had washed bed sheets in anticipation of her homecoming, was left heartbroken: 'I am very sad.

Doan Thi Huong broke down in tears as a prosecutor announced the attorney-general had rejected a request to free her and her trial would continue. "It's so unfair. The two of them were in this and now one got out, one can not".

"Furthermore, the trial judge made a finding that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against both of them and called upon them to enter their defence against the said charge". He urged the attorney-general to be transparent and explain why he dropped the case against Aisyah but not Huong.

Analysts have said the case against Aisyah appeared weaker since there was no video evidence of her accosting Kim at the airport.

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. Prosecutors have also said the VX was supplied by the North Korean suspects.

On Malaysia's request, Interpol has issued arrest warrant for the four men, who are believed to be back in Pyongyang, but North Korea is not a member of the organisation.

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