Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Vietnamese woman in N. Korea murder case seeks freedom

Doan Van Thanh the father of Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong accused of killing Kim Jong Nam insists his daughter is innocent and hopes she will be home soon Kim Jong-nam murder trial: prosecutors reject request to free Doan Thi Huong
Patty Aguilar | 16 March, 2019, 09:29

After Thursday's hearing, Le Quy Quynh, the Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia, briefly told reporters at the courthouse that he was "disappointed" with the decision.

Indonesia had mounted a sustained diplomatic offensive to get Ms Aisyah freed, while Vietnam had only stepped up pressure since the Indonesian woman's release this week.

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Binh, in a telephone call to his Malaysian counterpart Saifuddin Abdullah, asked Malaysia to "ensure a fair trial and free Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong", the government said in a statement.

Varughese said Tommy Thomas may have his reasons for continuing the prosecution of Doan Thi Huong in Kim Jong-nam's murder. It's very obvious, my lord, that there is discrimination. "More so in this case because two people were charged, but it was withdrawn against one but not against the other".

Huong and Aisyah were accused and jailed on charges of poisoning Kim Jong-Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13, 2017, with an internationally-prohibited toxic nerve agent classified as a chemical weapon.

Both have insisted they were tricked into the brazen attack and thought it was part of a TV show.

He ordered the women to mount a defense against what he said was a "well-planned conspiracy" hatched with four North Korean suspects.

A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer that Aisyah, Huong and the four missing North Koreans engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" to kill Kim Jong Nam.

The legal teams of both women have argued that they were pawns in the audacious assassination of Kim Jong-nam, 45, that was orchestrated behind-the-scenes by North Korean agents.

A Malaysian prosecutor said yesterday that Huong, 30, would remain on trial for the gruesome murder of Mr Kim Jong Nam with a toxic nerve agent at a busy Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017. "We will arrange a letter for her treatment".

Doan Thi Huong's family say she is a good girl who fell into the murder plot unwittingly

In a shock decision, Malaysia released Ms Siti Aisyah on Monday.

North Korea has consistently denied involvement in the killing, though US, South Korean and Malaysian authorities have said Pyongyang was responsible.

"I have no idea what is going on", a exhausted and pale-looking Huong, who was wrapped in a red headscarf and a coat, said through an interpreter.

After the ruling, Huong was seen sobbing as she spoke with Vietnamese embassy officials, before being whisked away by police.

"I had hoped for good news today, but...there is none... I had hoped my daughter would be freed like the Indonesian woman", said her 66-year-old father Doan Van Thanh. "I have no idea what is going on", she said.

Prosecutors have said the women were trained killers who knew they were holding poison.

Under the Malaysian penal code, the conviction of murder comes with a mandatory death sentence.

The duo had been charged over the murder. There was security camera footage of Huong.

Prosecutors did not reveal why they rejected Huong's appeal but let Aisyah go free.

During his meeting with Mahathir, Moon appreciated Kuala Lumpur's support for the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

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