Vietnam asks Malaysia to free woman accused of Kim Jong Nam's poisoning

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Vietnam asks Malaysia to free woman accused of Kim Jong Nam's poisoning

An Indonesian woman accused in the 2017 chemical poison murder of the North Korean leader's half-brother was freed on Monday after a Malaysian court dropped the charge in a case that drew suspicions of being a political assassination.

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

PTI reported Indonesian officials released Monday a letter sent by the country's justice minister to the Malaysian attorney-general, which reportedly sought her release, saying she had been "deceived".

Huong's murder trial is to resume Thursday, and prosecutors are expected to reply to a request by Huong's lawyers for the government to withdraw the murder charge against her as well. The two women were accused along with four missing North Koreans of killing Kim Jong Nam by VX nerve agent at a Malaysian airport in 2017.

The pair have always maintained their innocence and said that they acted under the belief that they were participating in a joke for a television show when they sprayed the victim's face with a substance that they believed was harmless.

Authorities believe that North Korean agents recruited Huong, who hails from Vietnam, while she worked at a bar in Hanoi.

When asked what was the first thing she wanted to do, she said: "I want to see my family".

Law Minister Liew Vui Keong said Wednesday that the attorney-general has sole discretion in withdrawing the charge against Aisyah.

The court rejected her lawyer's request for a full acquittal, as it said the trial had already established a prima facie case and she could be recalled if fresh evidence emerged.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the plot and argued that the death of North Korean citizen Kim Chol - as Kim Jong-Nam's name appears in the passport he used - was due to a heart attack.

Analysts said Aisyah's release was in part due to politics and the improved relations between Indonesia and Malaysia that have come since Mahathir Mohamad returned to the Malaysian premiership past year after the stunning election defeat of Najib Razak. Pyongyang has denied the accusation. "I am still in shock", she told reporters at the Foreign Ministry after meeting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on Tuesday.Siti went to the Presidential Palace with her parents, Asria and Benah, as well as her sister, and engaged in a brief talk with Jokowi.

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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.

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