Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

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The prosecution told the Shah Alam court on Thursday the attorney general had considered "all reasons" but 30-year-old Huong's trial for killing the half-brother of North Korea's leader would proceed.

The lawyers for Doan Thi Huong, the Vietnamese woman accused of murdering the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, have accused the Malaysian government of "discrimination" after an appeal for charges against Doan to be dropped in the same manner as those for Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah, 27, was rejected.

The decision to move forward with Huong's case was slammed by both her lawyer and Vietnam's ambassador, who had hoped she would be given the same leniency as Aisyah.

It said Minh requested the Malaysian court conduct a fair trial and free Doan Thi Huong.

Hisyam earlier told the court the attorney general's decision not to drop the case against Huong was "perverse", adding it "did not speak well of Malaysia's criminal justice system".

He also sought a deferment of the trial, saying Huong has been unwell since Aisyah's release and is not in a position to testify.

Reluctantly agreeing to postpone the trial, the judge said: "I wish I could just carry on but the accused is clearly not mentally or physically fit to testify". He said prosecutors were being unfair to Huong as her case was similar to Aisyah.

Kim died in 2017 after a toxic nerve agent was smeared on his face at Kuala Lumpur Airport.

She has been on trial for a year and a half over the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur airport that shocked the world.

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.

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It said that over the past two years, Aisyah's plight was raised in "every bilateral Indonesia-Malaysia meeting", including at the president's level, the vice-president's level and in regular meetings of the foreign minister and other ministers with their Malaysian counterparts.

The duo had been charged over the murder. Speaking to Vietnam embassy officials she shook violently, and pleaded with them.

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

"She was taken to the psychiatric ward.it was just a physical and mental examination", Salim said when contacted by Bernama.

In Vietnam, Huong's stepmother, Nguyen Thi Vy, said the decision saddened her. They also said that government lawyers failed to prove that the women had aimed to kill Kim.

Huong would face a death sentence if she is convicted of murder.

The murder of Kim Jong Nam triggered a nationwide manhunt and a diplomatic crisis.

Experts have said the case against Aisyah appeared weaker since there was no video evidence of her with Kim at the airport.

The defense part of the trial is expected to discuss the role of the four North Koreans, who fled the country and are believed to now be home in Pyongyang.

Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don't want the trial politicized.

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