Malaysia Court Frees Woman Accused Of Assassinating Kim Jong Nam

Malaysia Court Frees Woman Accused Of Assassinating Kim Jong Nam

Siti Aisyah smiled as she was ushered through a pack of journalists and into a auto outside the court, where she had been on trial alongside a Vietnamese woman for the murder of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

An Indonesian woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother was freed Monday after Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against her, in a shock decision a year and a half after she went on trial.

But at the start of the hearing at Shah Alam High Court, prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad requested that the murder charge against Aisyah be withdrawn and she be given a discharge, without providing a reason.

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 past year had found sufficient evidence to continue the murder trial against both of them.

Two women appeared to spread poison on Kim Jong Nam's face while he was walking through the Kuala Lumpur airport in early 2017.

Siti Aisyah, from Serang, Banten, looked cheerful and thanked all parties involved in her release.

Rusdi Kirana, Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia, said the decision to drop the case against Aisyah followed months of lobbying by Jakarta.

"However, I will only allow until Thursday", he said, adding that if her request is rejected, the trial will continue.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi in a statement said Siti Aisyah's release was a "sweet" decision and good news for Indonesia after the woman's long ordeal.

It was a surprise move as the court had been scheduled to hear Huong - who was in court alongside Aisyah - testify on Monday.

Prosecutors in court did not say why they were dropping charges. "This is my day of freedom".

Indonesian national Siti Aisyah (R) is escorted by Malaysia police during a court appearance with Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong (not pictured) at the Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur on 22 January 2018.

"I am very happy, I never expected that today I will be freed", she said at a press conference with representatives of the Indonesian government in Kuala Lumpur on Monday, which was aired live by Kompas TV.

Four men, suspected to be North Korean agents, are suspected to have orchestrated the assassination.

Aisyah was expected to return to Jakarta soon.

"We are hoping against hope that the charges against her will be dropped", said Teh Poh Teik, Huong's lawyer. She said that she was well treated in prison and received plenty of encouragement, but that she was eager to meet her family again.

The murder had triggered a diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea. Vietnam has pushed less hard, and recently hosted Kim Jong Un for an official visit and a summit with President Donald Trump.

An Indonesian woman has returned home and thanked the president and Cabinet ministers for securing her release from Malaysia, where she had been charged in the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother. "We are making representation to the attorney general for Doan to be taken equally".

He had spoken out in the past against his family's dynastic control of North Korea and in a 2012 book was quoted as saying he believed his half-brother lacked leadership qualities.

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