Vietnam asks Malaysia to free woman accused of Kim Jong-nam’s poisoning

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who is on trial for the killing of Kim Jong-nam, is escorted as she arrives at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur January 22, 2018. — Reuters pic
Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, who is on trial for the killing of Kim Jong-nam, is escorted as she arrives at the Shah Alam High Court on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur January 22, 2018. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, March 13 — Vietnam called on Malaysia yesterday to free a Vietnamese woman accused in the 2017 murder of the North Korean leader’s half-brother, a day after a Malaysian court dropped a similar charge against an Indonesian woman.

Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Binh, in a telephone call to his Malaysian counterpart Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, asked Malaysia to “ensure a fair trial and free Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong,” the government said in a statement.

Huong’s co-defendant, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, was freed on Monday after a Malaysian court dropped the charge against her.

She and Huong have been accused of poisoning Kim Jong-nam, half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, with liquid VX at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. Conviction could carry the death penalty.

Minh said in the phone conversation that senior leaders and the people of Vietnam have paid close attention to the trial, the government statement said.

Huong’s father, Doan Van Thanh, said Siti Aisyah’s release was good news for his family.

“I believe that my daughter will be released too because she is innocent. We haven’t received any information from Malaysia recently, and we are eager to hear from them now,” Thanh told Reuters.

The court is scheduled to presume proceedings tomorrow.

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

During the trial, the court was shown CCTV footage of two women allegedly assaulting Kim Jong-nam while he prepared to check in for a flight.

Siti Aisyah and Huong have maintained that they believed they had been hired to participate in a reality TV prank show. — Reuters

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