Kim Jong Nam: Suspected Murderer Freed - AMEBO FEEDS BLOG

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Monday, 11 March 2019

Kim Jong Nam: Suspected Murderer Freed

Siti Aisyah was one of two women accused of assassinating Kim Jong Un’s half-brother


Siti Aisyah smiles as she leaves the court after the charges against her were dropped

Malaysian prosecutors have withdrawn charges against an Indonesian woman over the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother at an airport in Kuala Lumpur.

Siti Aisyah, now 29, was accused along with Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong, 25, of smearing VX on Kim Jong Nam’s face as he waited for a flight from the Malaysian capital in February 2017. Kim, 45, died 20 minutes later.

In August last year, a judge ruled that there was enough evidence to charge both women over the assassination, which is punishable by death in Malaysia. But today the charges against Aisyah were dropped.

“The decision came as a surprise to many, including Siti Aisyah herself,” reports CNN, which says Aisyah hugged her co-defendant before leaving Shah Alam High Court, outside Kuala Lumpur.

“She later tearfully told reporters that she was ‘shocked’ to have been freed after more than two years behind bars,” the news site adds.

The charges were dropped under section 254 of Malaysia’s criminal procedure, which says prosecuters can apply for a discharge before the delivery of a judgment, although this does not amount to an acquittal.

Huong is expected to find out later this week if the charges against her will be upheld.

Both women denied the murder allegations and claimed they thought they were taking part in a stunt for a reality TV show. Their lawyers said they were paid to carry out pranks in the days prior “where they wiped liquid on people at airports, hotels and shopping malls”, reports the BBC.

Although prosecutors did not give a reason for withdrawing the charges against Aisyah, the Financial Times notes that the move comes after Yasonna Laoly, Indonesia’s minister of law and human rights, urged Malaysia to “reconsider the charges” and take “into account the good relations between our countries”.

According to the newspaper, the Malaysian attorney-general replied to Laoly last Friday “saying the prosecution was going to drop charges taking into consideration bilateral relations between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur”.

Aisyah’s lawyers told reporters today: “We still truly believe she is merely a scapegoat and she’s innocent... There was no direct evidence that she applied anything on Kim Jong Nam.”

Lawyers for Huong say they have lobbied the Vietnam government to step in but do not know the extent of its involvement in the case.

Four North Korean suspects fled Malaysia on the day that Kim was killed and have not been found. The motive behind his assassination is uncertain, but analysts believe Kim Jong Un may have seen him as a potential threat

The murdered man lived in self-imposed exile in Chinese-controlled Macau for almost two decades prior to his death. He left North Korea after falling out of his favour with his father, former leader Kim Jong Il.

“North Korea has consistently denied involvement in the killing, though United States, South Korean and Malaysian authorities have said it was, in fact, responsible for Kim’s death,” said CNN.

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