Bar defends AG’s silence on dropping Indonesian accused in Jong-nam trial

Varughese said Tommy Thomas may have his reasons for continuing the prosecution of Doan Thi Huong in Kim Jong-nam’s murder. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Varughese said Tommy Thomas may have his reasons for continuing the prosecution of Doan Thi Huong in Kim Jong-nam’s murder. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — The Attorney General has the prerogative to drop charges against Siti Aisyah and continue the prosecution of Doan Thi Huong in Kim Jong-nam’s murder, the Malaysian Bar said.  

Outgoing Malaysian Bar president George Varughese said Tommy Thomas may have his reasons for not explaining why the Indonesian woman was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, citing the current proceedings against Doan whose application for her charge to be dropped was dismissed yesterday.

“It may jeopardise this proceeding if he were to divulge that. I don’t know. I’m also speculating here.

“Like I said, it’s his prerogative,” George told Malay Mail in a joint interview with Sin Chew Daily here yesterday at the end of his two-year term as Malaysian Bar president.

George however also said that to avoid speculation, "it would be good if the Attorney General could give his reasons for dropping the charges."

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh had questioned why the AG dropped the prosecution of Siti Aisyah but maintained charges against her Vietnamese co-defendant, pointing out that both women were jointly accused of Jong-nam’s murder.

The Indonesian embassy reportedly said that Siti Aisyah’s release on Monday was the result of Jakarta’s lobbying efforts. But Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly denied knowledge about it.  

Doan and Siti Aisyah were charged with killing Jong-nam, the elder brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, using liquid VX, a chemical warfare agent, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017.

Both women have consistently denied the murder, claiming that they were tricked by North Korean spies into carrying out the killing and they believed it was a prank for a reality TV show