Vietnam family of Kim murder suspect urge her not to lose hope

Malaysia rejects Vietnam’s request to free woman in murder trial

Malaysia's attorney-general ordered the continuation of the murder case against a Vietnamese woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Doan Thi Huong is on trial for the 2017 assassination of Kim Jong Nam at klia2 in Sepang.

Prosecutors have contended the women were trained assassins who knew they were handling poison because they carefully held out their hands away from their bodies and went to separate restrooms to wash their hands afterward.

The Vietnamese government had made the appeal after Doan Thi Huong's co-accused, Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah, was released on Monday in a shock decision.

It seems out of point to say Kuala Lumpur has released Siti in a bid to improve estranged relations with Pyongyang as some observers here argue.

Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam returned to the courthouse in Kuala Lumpur Thursday hoping to hear similar news of her own release, but was instead met with normal proceedings.

"We hope that the Vietnamese government, which we believe they are doing right now, put further pressure on the Malaysian government to ensure that there is equality", he said.

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"It's our complaint that the public prosecution has not acted fairly and justly to Doan Thi Huong", her lawyer Hisyam Teh, who asked for an adjournment on the grounds that his client was unwell.

Given her mental and physical condition, the judge accepted her lawyer's assertion that Huong was in no condition to take the stand and give evidence in her own defence, agreeing to postpone the case until April 1.

They were the only people arrested for the crime, after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed.

Doan and Siti Aisyah were charged with assassinating Kim Jong Nam by accosting him and smearing his face with VX nerve agent, a banned lethal chemical weapon, in the departures terminal at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2. There was security camera footage of Huong. They were then seen meeting a North Korean Embassy official and an Air Koryo official before flying out of the country. They did not offer any explanation but it followed intense lobbying from the Indonesian government. "Her case is the same as Siti Aisyah's".

A day later, Minister of Justice Le Thanh Long sent a letter to Attorney General of Malaysia Tommy Thomas. "If you want to do something, you have to understand what is that exactly", she said.

Buoyed by the news that Aisyah was freed - and after Vietnam's foreign minister and justice minister publicly called for Huong's release this week - they were certain she would be home soon.

Vietnamese authorities had been tight-lipped about the case.

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