Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

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Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

The attorney general is pushing ahead with the trial of Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong in the murder of Kim Jong Nam despite the unexpected decision this week to free her co-accused.

A Vietnamese woman suspected of killing Kim Jong-un's half-brother has lost her bid for immediate release after Malaysian officials refused to drop a murder charge - days after her Indonesian co-accused was freed.

Huong's application, which was filed on Monday, to have the charge against her dropped was rejected by the Attorney-General (AG).

Vietnamese Ambassador Le Quy Quynh said he was "disappointed", and that his country had been lobbying for Huong's release, and would continue to do so.

Huong's father, Doan Van Thanh, said: "We are very shocked, very sad and we don't understand why it turned out this way".

Abdul Rashid Ismail, a leading Malaysian criminal lawyer who was not involved in the case, said the decision to prosecute Huong but not Aisyah was "clearly unfair".

Prosecutors did not reveal why they rejected Huong's appeal but let Aisyah go free. "More so in this case because two people were charged, but it was withdrawn against one but not against the other".

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Huong and Siti, 27, were charged with the murder of Kim Jong Nam in the concourse area of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport by smearing his face with a toxic nerve agent and the court ruled last August that there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. They have said they thought they were taking part in a harmless prank for a TV show.

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. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.

When asked by the judge if she was unwell, Huong stood in the dock and said she suffered from tension and stress. The Guardian reported that Huong looked pale and drawn. The defense phase of the trial was to have begun Monday. She could be seen shaking as she pleaded with Vietnam embassy officials.

"I had hoped for good news today, but unfortunately there is none". "I have no idea what is going on", she said. "It's so unfair. The two of them were in this and now one got out, one can not".

A murder conviction carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging in Malaysia.

Analysts have said the case against Aisyah appeared weaker since there was no video evidence of her accosting Kim at the airport. The North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur was defaced with graffiti just hours before the trial was to resume. Defence lawyers have said the women were hired to play pranks on strangers and had done several such pranks before the attack on Kim.

Airport security footage played during the women's trial showed all four of the men at the airport during the attack, discarding their belongings and changing their outfits later.

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