Accused in Kim Jong-nam murder trial undergoes medical check

Remigio Civitarese
Marzo 16, 2019

According to BBC news reports, Vietnam has been pushing for Huong's release, and the Vietnamese decision has come days after Siti Aisyah, Indonesian co-defendant was unexpectedly freed.

Vietnamese Ambassador Le Quy Quynh said he was "disappointed", and that his country had been lobbying for Huong's release, and would continue to do so.

Her lawyers say she is a scapegoat and the masterminds were four North Koreans who fled Malaysia shortly after the assassination.

Vietnam's foreign ministry said it regretted the Malaysian court's decision not to immediately free Huong.

Huong and Aisyah were accused of smearing the toxic VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam's face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur on February 13, 2017. He insists his daughter was tricked into Kim's murder and believes she thought she was part of a prank for TV, as she has said in court.

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

Prosecutors had sprung a surprise on Monday by asking the court to drop the charge against Siti Aisyah and free her.

Huong's lawyer had sought a delay for the trial Thursday.

The spokeswoman affirmed that soon after the incident occurred, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs directed related agencies to meet Huong and her family, as well as finding lawyers and witnesses as regulated by the host country's laws and global practices.

South Korea accuses Pyongyang of plotting the murder of Kim Jong Un's estranged relative, who was once seen as heir apparent to the North's leadership.

Siti Aisyah smiles as she arrives from Malaysia at Halim Perdana Kusuma airport in Jakarta Indonesia
Siti Aisyah smiles as she arrives from Malaysia at Halim Perdana Kusuma airport in Jakarta Indonesia

Earlier, Azmi asked Doan if she was not well, and the woman, who was standing in the dock and looked pale and weak, replied "I'm feeling stressed".

Quỳnh later told CNN thatthe Vietnamese justice minister had sent a letter to Malaysia's attorney general requesting Huong's release. The defense phase of the trial was to have begun Monday. She thanked the Party, State and the Vietnamese Embassy in Malaysia for their help and support.

In Huong's village in Vietnam, her family was crestfallen.

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

"I am very sad".

In Vietnam, her stepmother Nguyen Thi Vy said the decision saddened her.

He added that the request was also in part to allow the Vietnamese and Malaysian government to discuss Huong's case and an appeal by Vietnamese side to have the charges dropped. Malaysia now has a moratorium on executions but has backtracked on its announcement a year ago that it would abolish the death penalty. "If Siti Aisyah can be released then why not Doan?"

As of late Thursday night (local time), the Attorney-General's Chamber had not issued a statement about the decision in Doan's case. He urged the attorney-general to be transparent and explain why he dropped the case against Aisyah but not Huong.

During the prosecution phase of the trial, expert witnesses testified that acute VX poisoning caused Kim's death and the nerve agent was detected on his face, in his eyes, and on his clothing.

Both the women had pleaded not guilty to the murder.

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