Published: Thu, March 14, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Vietnamese woman in N. Korea murder case loses bid for release

Vietnamese woman in N. Korea murder case loses bid for release

Huong's lawyers said they were deeply disappointed with the decision and the attorney general had a "moral obligation" to explain the reasoning given the global nature of the case.

A Vietnamese woman will continue her trial for the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, after Malaysian prosecutors rejected a request from Vietnam to free her on Thursday.

"Furthermore, the trial judge made a finding that the prosecution had succeeded in establishing a prima facie case against both of them and called upon them to enter their defence against the said charge".

However, Doan's counsel Hisham confirmed that Malaysian prosecutors rejected a request to drop the charges against Doan, meaning she alone will face trial for the murder.

Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia, Le Quy Quynh, told AFP at the court: "I'm very disappointed that the court did not free Doan".

Huong's lawyers said CCTV video showing Huong walking up behind Kim and putting her hands over his face should have no bearing on the attorney general's decision, because both women were mounting the same defence and it had already been chose to free Siti Aisyah.

"In cases like this, the discretion of the AG ought to be open to question, particularly when a person's life is at stake", Ramkarpal said.

Prosecutors say Malaysia's attorney general has ordered the murder case to proceed against a Vietnamese woman accused in the killing of the North Korean leader's half brother.

Vietnam's government said earlier that Foreign Minister Pham Binh Binh had asked Malaysia to "ensure a fair trial for Huong and set her free".

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Indonesian Siti Aisyah was freed on Monday after the prosecution suddenly withdrew the charge against her.

Some South Korean lawmakers said the North Korean regime had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family's dynastic rule. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law. The Guardian reported that Huong looked pale and drawn.

"I wish I could just carry on but the accused is clearly not mentally or physically fit to testify", the judge told the court.

Huong was sobbing as she spoke to Vietnamese Embassy officials after Thursday's court hearing ended.

Huong could face a death sentence if she is convicted.

But her life took a turn when she moved to Malaysia, where like so many migrant workers she sought a brighter future than the one on offer in her poor rice farming village. He urged the attorney-general to be transparent and explain why he dropped the case against Aisyah but not Huong. The witnesses said traces of VX were found on both women's clothes as well as on Huong's fingernails. "I have no idea what is going on", she said. There was security camera footage of Huong.

"Doan is a scapegoat", said lead defence lawyer Hisyam Teoh Poh Teik. They were then seen meeting a North Korean Embassy official and an Air Koryo official before flying out of the country.

They remain at large despite an Interpol "red notice", equivalent to an global arrest warrant.

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