Malaysia: Vietnamese Woman to Stand Trial in Kim Killing


"In reference to the representation submitted on March 11 to the honourable attorney-general, we got an order to proceed with the case", lead prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad told the High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur.

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.

Her lawyer said she had been unable to sleep since the unexpected release of Siti Aisyah, who flew to Jakarta the day she walked free from court.

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. "The decision does not speak well of our criminal justice system", he said.

"God knows that Siti and I did nothing wrong", she said.

"It's our complaint that the public prosecution has not acted fairly and justly to Doan Thi Huong", her lawyer Hisyam Teh, who asked for an adjournment on the grounds that his client was unwell.

Vietnam had increased pressure on Malaysia to release Huong since Aisyah was freed, with the foreign minister this week pressing his Malaysian counterpart on the issue and the justice minister writing to the attorney-general. The AG favoured one party to the other, " Teh said. They have said they thought they were taking part in a harmless prank for a TV show.

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Their lawyers presented them as scapegoats and said the real killers were four North Koreans, who were suspected of being the masterminds behind the plot but fled Malaysia shortly after the assassination.

Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, had been waiting to board a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Macau on 13 February 2017 when two women approached him in the departure area. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.

Huong stood in the dock and responded to the judge's questions on the deferment request, saying she suffered from tension and stress. The Guardian reported that Huong looked pale and drawn.

"The way I see it she's not there physically or mentally", the judge said having met her in chambers prior to the start of the hearing. The defence phase of the trial was to have begun Monday.

"I had hoped for good news today, but unfortunately there is none".

In a statement, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said subjecting Doan to further prosecution, but not her co-accused, "particularly when a prima facie case has been found against both of them is, with respect, unprecedented and regrettable".

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.