Malaysia Won’t Drop Case Against Vietnamese in Kim Killing

An emotional Doan Thi Huong is escorted by police as she leaves the Shah Alam court

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 prosecutor did not elaborate.

Vietnam's call followed Monday's release, at Indonesia's request, of an Indonesian woman who had been accused along with the Vietnamese, Doan Thi Huong. She returned home and met the Indonesian president as well. Both maintained through counsel that they were made scapegoats by North Korea.

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. There are no differences, similar evidence and the same defence. "If Siti Aisyah could be released, why not Doan?"

Huong, Aisyah and the four North Koreans were accused of exposing Kim to the VX as he entered an airport in Kuala Lumpur on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, killing him in minutes.

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

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

Huong arrived in court looking anxious.

Proceedings were scheduled to resume Monday with Huong testifying - but the unexpected release of Aisyah led to the trial being adjourned so the Vietnamese suspect could also seek her freedom.

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Following which, the judge said: "I wish to carry on with this case, but unfortunately, from my observation looking at her, she is not well, mentally or physically". She must be given the opportunity to be attended by a doctor.

Vietnamese Ambassaador Le Quy Quynh said he was "very disappointed" with the attorney general's decision.

After the ruling was announced, Huong wept and pressed Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia Lê Quý Quỳnh's hands to her forehead.

Huong bowed her head as she was escorted back to prison by armed police. Aisyah and Huong have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show. The North denies the claim.

Huong's lawyer said he would make a second bid to get the charge against her dropped, and criticised the failure to free her following the release of the Indonesian, Siti Aisyah.

The go-ahead was given by the Malaysian attorney general, the court was informed.

Describing the decision not to withdraw the charge as "perverse", Teh accused the attorney-general of favoring one party over the other.

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