Malaysia Continues Case Against Vietnamese Woman in Kim Killing

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Malaysia Continues Case Against Vietnamese Woman in Kim Killing

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who was a suspect in the murder case of North Korean leader's half brother Kim Jong Nam, leaves the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 14, 2019.

Malaysian prosecutors rejected an appeal to drop a murder charge against one of the two women accused of using the deadly nerve agent VX to murder the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, just days after allowing her co-defendant to walk free.

Responding to news about the AG's rejection of the application from Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong's lawyers for a withdrawal, the DAP national legal bureau chairman said it raised questions about the AG's absolute power to decide prosecutions in the country.

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

Huong's lawyers said they were deeply disappointed with the decision and the attorney general had a "moral obligation" to explain the reasoning given the global nature of the case.

Vietnamese diplomatic efforts have proved less effective on the part of Doan, though Hisham confirmed that the embassy of Vietnam in Malaysia, as well as the Vietnamese minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs were "communication with the Malaysian government to secure the release of Doan Thi Huong".

He also sought a deferment of the trial, saying Huong has been unwell since Aisyah's release and is not in a position to testify.

The judge said Ms Huong was not well enough to continue with the trial today, and adjourned proceedings until 1 April. He said prosecutors were being unfair to Huong as her case was similar to Aisyah.

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

"We will request Malaysia to have fair judgment and release her as soon as possible", he said.

Teh said, "Very obviously, there is discrimination". The foreign ministry said in a statement that she was "deceived and did not realize at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence". The defense phase of the trial was to have begun Monday. The man was dead within 20 minutes, and the women - who said they thought they were taking part in a Japanese game show - were arrested and charged with murder. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.

Huong was sobbing as she spoke to Vietnamese Embassy officials after Thursday's court hearing ended. "I had hoped my daughter would be freed like the Indonesian woman", said her father, Doan Van Thanh. "It's so unfair. The two of them were in this and now one got out, one can not".

Both women were facing murder charges over the death of Kim Jong-nam.

During the trial, the court was shown airport CCTV footage showing Huong approaching Kim, placing her hands on his face and then running away.

Huong could face a death sentence if she is found guilty of the charges. The North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur was defaced with graffiti just hours before the trial was to resume.

Officials in South Korea and the United States say North Korea was behind the assassination.

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