Vietnam asks Malaysia to free Kim assassin suspect

Vietnam is urging Malaysia to release Doan Thi Huong the second woman accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader

Vietnam is urging Malaysia to release Doan Thi Huong the second woman accused of killing the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader

Huong, 30, and Aisyah, 26, were accused of using the nerve agent VX to assassinate Kim, who the USA and South Korea have claimed was Kim Jong-nam, at Kuala Lumpur's worldwide airport on February 13, 2017.

Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh called his Malaysian counterpart, Saifuddin Abdullah, on Tuesday and pleaded Doan Thi Huong be given a fair trial and set free, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website.

Huong's co-defendant, Indonesian Siti Aisyah, was freed on Monday after the Shah Alam High court dropped the charge against her.

Huong's lawyers have now demanded that the Malaysian attorney general should drop the charges against her too and set her free.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah left smiles next to her lawyer Gooi Soon Seng after a press conference at Indonesian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Monday

Prosecutors told the court that they had been instructed to withdraw the charge against Siti Aisyah.

Ms Siti, who had worked as a masseuse in the Malaysian capital, and Huong, who described herself as an actress, had maintained that they believed they had been hired to participate in a reality TV prank show. A similar white top was worn by a woman shown in CCTV footage from the terminal minutes after Jong-nam was poisoned to death.

"[I was] shocked at first, I couldn't believe it", Aisyah said of her release.

The women's lawyers have presented them as scapegoats.

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The women's lawyers say the real killers are four North Koreans - formally accused of the crime alongside the women - who fled Malaysia shortly after the assassination.

The two women were accused of smearing the toxic VX nerve agent on Kim's face in an airport terminal in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 13, 2017.

South Korea accuses the North of plotting the murder of Jong Nam, an estranged relative of Kim Jong Un who was once seen as heir apparent to the North Korean leadership.

Vietnam provided legal counsel to Huong, but has refrained from publicly lobbying for her release until today. Pyongyang has denied the accusation. "Both of them were charged on the same evidence, the defence was called on fairly the same grounds", said Salim Bashir, one of Huong's lawyers.

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The Straits Times reported that Malaysia chose to drop the murder charge against Ms Siti after taking into account the good relations between Malaysia and Indonesia, it was revealed yesterday.

She was given a trial and she was discharged.

Law Minister Liew Vui Keong said Wednesday that the attorney-general has sole discretion in withdrawing the charge against Aisyah.

"Until today, we do not know what were the exceptional circumstances that were needed for the attorney-general to review the charge against Siti Aisyah".

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"Miss Aisyah was deceived and had no awareness whatsoever that she was being used as an intelligence tool of North Korea", he wrote.

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