Vietnamese woman in Kim Jong-nam murder case loses bid for release

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

Judge Datuk Azmi Ariffin postponed the hearing to April 1 after lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, representing the woman, Doan Thi Huong, 30, informed the court that his client was physically and mentally unfit and requested the hearing to be postponed.

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.

Shocked Huong said as she left the dock: 'I am innocent, I want my family to pray for me'.

A similar white top was worn by a woman shown in CCTV footage from the terminal minutes after Jong-nam was poisoned to death.

However Huong told reporters through an interpreter that she wasn't bitter Aisyah was freed and she was not. "Very obviously, there is discrimination", he said, according to the Associated Press. He insists his daughter was tricked into Kim's murder and believes she thought she was part of a prank for TV, as she has said in court.

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

"I am of the view that the charge against Doan ought to have been dropped the same way it was dropped against Siti Aisyah if the AG was of the view that North Korea had a hand in Jong Nam's murder", Ramkarpal said. The other, Indonesian national Siti Aisyah, was freed Monday in a surprise ruling and returned to Indonesia hours later.

Vietnam's foreign ministry spokesman Le Thi Thu Hang told a news conference yesterday: "We very much regret that the Malaysian High Court did not free Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong immediately". Aisyah was only seen as a blurred figure fleeing the scene of the crime.

Last August, a High Court judge found there was enough evidence to show that Aisyah, Huong and the four North Koreans had worked together on a plan to kill Kim.

The Indonesian embassy reportedly said that Siti Aisyah's release on Monday was the result of Jakarta's lobbying efforts.

Government lawyers announced the decision in court Thursday.

In Vietnam, her stepmother Nguyen Thi Vy said the decision saddened her.

Doan would face the death penalty if convicted of murdering Kim Jong Nam.

Vietnam had increased pressure on Malaysia to release Huong since Aisyah was freed, with the foreign minister this week pressing his Malaysian counterpart on the issue and the justice minister writing to the attorney-general. The government gave us the best support but the other side could not solve it, what can we do'.

He said Hanoi would again request that Malaysian authorities treat Huong fairly and release her "as soon as possible".

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