Malaysia court frees Indonesian in Kim Jong-nam murder case

Malaysia court frees Indonesian in Kim Jong-nam murder case

After a little over two years since the assassination of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, one of the two women suspected to have murdered the 45-year-old has just had charges dropped against her.

"I feel very happy", Aisyah said at a news conference at the Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia.

Charges haven't been dropped against Aisyah's co-defendant, Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong.

Prosecutors in court did not say why they were dropping charges.

Huong's lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said after the court session that Huong felt Aisyah's discharge was unfair to her because the judge a year ago had found sufficient evidence to continue the murder trial against both of them.

In his request to withdraw the charge, prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad did not give a reason for the move in court. This means Aisyah has not been formally cleared of the charge and could, in theory, be re-arrested.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Siti Aisyah and Doan Thi Huong were accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim Jong Nam's face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur on February 13, 2017.

CCTV footage showed one of the two women placing her hands over Kim's face and then both women leaving the scene.

Both have denied murder, saying they thought they were part of a TV prank.

The ministry said Malaysia's attorney general used his authority under Malaysia's criminal procedure code to not continue the prosecution.

The letter repeated numerous arguments made by her defense attorneys.

The judge approved the request, saying: "Siti Aisyah is freed".

"Why did they release the Indonesian girl without releasing my daughter?" he told AFP. The two had been the only suspects in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed. Their whereabouts are unknown, and Interpol has put out red notices for each of them, asking governments around the world to send them to Malaysia to face trial. He had been living overseas for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.

He was the eldest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, and had lived overseas since 2003. "Huong is in good health, confident and is ready to take the stand", he said, adding that the thrust of the defense remained that the women were tricked into carrying out the killing.

But Huong ended up only reading the first three lines of her prepared testimony in a tearful and stuttering tone.

"We are grateful the public prosecutor has come to this conclusion, because we truly believe she is merely a scapegoat and she is innocent", he said.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, foreground, is escorted by police. "She was in no position to testify".

But speaking to reporters through an interpreter in court, Huong said she felt "terrible" about her own position.

Gooi Soon Seng, Aisyah's lawyer, said the acquittal has completely nullified the case against her, as though she has never been charged. "I did not expect it".

Aisyah, surrounded by government officials and a mob of reporters at Jakarta's arport, struggled for words as journalists shouted questions.

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