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Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing
14 March 2019, 04:24 | Devin Moran
Vietnam regrets Malaysian rejection of appeal to free murder accused
Vietnam has urged Malaysia to release the second woman accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader after her co-defendant was unexpectedly set free this week.
Counsel for Doan Thi-Huong, Hisham Teh Poh Teik, told the court that she had not slept for the past three nights following the decision by the Malaysian attorney general to drop the charges against Siti.
The two women were the only people in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the morning of February 13, 2017, when Kim Jong Nam was poisoned with VX nerve agent.
The 30-year-old, who could face the death penalty if convicted, sobbed in court when it was announced that her trial would go ahead.
Huong's father, Doan Van Thanh, said: "We are very shocked, very sad and we don't understand why it turned out this way".
"I want my family to pray for me". They did not offer any explanation but it followed intense lobbying from the Indonesian government.
On Thursday, the same court ruled that Doan's trial could proceed, but would be postponed until 1 April after she was declared "mentally and physically" unfit to testify.
Vietnam's foreign ministry said it regretted the Malaysian court's decision not to immediately free Huong.
"We will request Malaysia to be fair and to release her as soon as possible".
Lawyers for the women have previously said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill.
Huong's application, which was filed on Monday, to have the charge against her dropped was rejected by the Attorney-General (AG).
Proceedings were scheduled to resume Monday with Huong testifying - but the unexpected release of Aisyah led to the trial being adjourned so the Vietnamese suspect could also seek her freedom.
The ruling leaves Ms Doan, who arrived with armed guards at the Shah Alam court shortly before 9am and wearing a bulletproof vest, as the sole suspect in the case still behind bars.
The pair had always denied murder, saying they were tricked by North Korean spies into carrying out the Cold War-style killing using a highly toxic nerve agent, and believed it was a prank for a reality TV show.
In a statement, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said subjecting Doan to further prosecution, but not her co-accused, "particularly when a prima facie case has been found against both of them is, with respect, unprecedented and regrettable". He said prosecutors were being unfair to Huong as her case was similar to Aisyah. She could be seen shaking as she pleaded with Vietnam embassy officials.
South Korea has accused the North of ordering the hit, which Pyongyang denies. He had been living overseas for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.
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