Kim Jong-nam Killing: Indonesian Women Freed after 2 years in Malaysian Jail
Malaysia has released Siti Aisyah, an Indonesian woman held for two years on suspicion of killing Kim Jong-nam – half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un – on Monday, after the murder charges against her were dropped unexpectedly.
“I am surprised and very happy. I didn’t expect it,” said a crying Aisyah. She hugged her co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, a Vietnamese woman, before leaving the courtroom.
Aisyah and Huong were charged for throwing VX nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong-nam at Kuala Lumpur airport on February 13, 2017. The women said they believed they were a part of a prank for a TV show. The same morning when Kim was killed, four North Korean suspects fled from Malaysia. Aisyah and Huong were the only two suspects captured by the authorities.
After prosecutors withdrew the murder charges against Aisyah, the High Court judge discharged her without an acquittal. Prosecutors did not give a reason for this unexpected change of decision. However, Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad said discharging without an acquittal meant that she could be charged again, but as of now there was no such plan.
After the hearing, Aisyah was taken in an embassy car. According to her lawyers, she would head to the Indonesian Embassy and would soon fly to Jakarta.
On the other hand, murder trial of Huong was put on hold after the surprise drop of charges against Aisyah.
“I am in shock. My mind is blank,” an upset Huong said after Aisyah left.
Rusdi Kirana, Indonesian Ambassador, thanked the Malaysian government and said “We believe she is not guilty”.
One of Huong’s Lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said Huong was saddened and felt Aisyah’s release was unfair to her.
As per Salim Bashir, another Huong’s lawyer, Huong was ready to testify under oath for her defence.
“She is confident and ready to give her version of the story. It is completely different from what the prosecutors had painted. She was filming a prank and had no intention to kill or injure anyone,” he told media.
Previously, the lawyers for both the women have said that they were used as pawns in a political assassination linked with the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur. They also said the prosecution failed to prove that either of the woman had any intention to kill Kim Jong-nam. Under the Malaysian law, intent to kill is imperative to prove a murder charge.
Malaysian authorities have refrained from directly accusing North Korea for the killing, saying they don’t wish to politicise the trial.
Kim Jong-nam was the eldest son of the current ruling family of North Korea. For years, he was living abroad, but was seen a significant threat to Kim Jong-un.
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