Malaysia nixes Vietnam call to free defendant in Kim murder


Vietnamese diplomatic efforts have proved less effective on the part of Doan, though Hisham confirmed that the embassy of Vietnam in Malaysia, as well as the Vietnamese minister of justice and minister of foreign affairs were "communication with the Malaysian government to secure the release of Doan Thi Huong".

Indonesia lobbied behind the scenes for Aisyah's release and Malaysia's attorney-general Tommy Thomas agreed to free her citing "the good relations between our respective countries".

A Vietnamese woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother is expected to learn Thursday whether she will be freed, days after the shock release of her Indonesian co-accused.

Teh told the court the rejection of Vietnam's request was "perverse", and a case of discrimination, as the attorney-general had favoured one party over another, since the court had ordered both to enter their defence.

Huong's lawyer said that "the public prosecutor has not acted fairly to Doan".

Huong, Aisyah and the four North Koreans were accused of exposing Kim to the VX as he entered an airport in Kuala Lumpur on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, killing him in minutes.

Ms Huong says she was tricked into taking part and believed she was part of a TV prank.

North Korea has fiercely denied any involvement in the killing, but four men - believed to be North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of the murder - have also been charged in the case.

Doan Thi Huong 2
Kim Jong-nam murder trial: prosecutors reject request to free Doan Thi Huong

South Korea has accused the North of ordering the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged relative of Kim Jong Un and once seen as heir apparent to the North's leadership.

Yesterday, she sobbed in the dock and had to be helped out of court by two police officers after a prosecutor announced the attorney-general had refused to drop a murder charge against her.

Huong's lawyer sought a deferment of the trial Thursday, saying she was unwell and needed medical treatment.

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. He added that Vietnam would continue to ask for her release.

Doan, who looked pale and exhausted in the courtroom, broke down and cried following the ruling.

"I am very sad. I had hoped my daughter would be freed like the Indonesian woman", said her father, Doan Van Thanh. "I have no idea what is going on", she said.

The decision means that Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam will remain as the only suspect in the case still behind bars.