Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

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. "If Siti Aisyah can be released then why not Doan?"

Prosecutors in court Thursday gave no explanation why they refused to drop the murder charge against Doan Thi Huong. He said Vietnam's justice minister had written to the Malaysian attorney-general seeking Huong's release and that Vietnam would keep lobbying Malaysia to free her.

Huong and Siti, 27, were charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam in the concourse area of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport by smearing his face with a toxic nerve agent and the court ruled last August that there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed.

Lawyers for the women have previously said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill.

On Monday a murder charge was unexpectedly withdrawn against the Indonesian woman accused alongside her, sparking calls from Vietnam for Huong to be freed and prompting her lawyers to apply for her release.

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"Doan has a constitutional right to be treated the way Siti Aisyah was as she is entitled to equal protection of the law".

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.

Ms Huong, who arrived at court in a bulletproof vest and red headscarf, has already been on trial for a year and a half.

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".

The judge agreed to postpone the trial until April 1 but warned there should be no more delay.

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Vietnamese Ambassaador Le Quy Quynh said he was "very disappointed" with the attorney general's decision.

Huong made headlines after she was pictured posing for a Facebook selfie in an image posted online just days before the assassination.

Hisyam has argued Kim's killing was politically motivated and his client's behaviour after his death showed she did not realise what she was doing. Pyongyang has denied this.

Huong's lawyer said he would make a second bid to get the charge against her dropped, and criticised the failure to free her following the release of the Indonesian, Siti Aisyah. It was decision which Hisham described as "discrimination" and evidence that the attorney general Tommy Thomas had "favoured" one defendant over another. "The AG favored one party to the other".

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