Bar defends AG’s silence on dropping Indonesian accused in Jong-nam trial

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong center is escorted by police as she arrives at Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam Malaysia on March 14

Government lawyers announced the decision in court Thursday.

The decision means that Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam will remain as the only suspect in the case still behind bars.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah was freed on Monday after the prosecution suddenly withdrew the charge against her.

After the trial was postponed, Hương met with Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Lê Quý Quỳnh. "They were charged with the same thing, it's such an injustice".

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.

Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung "expressed disappointment about Malaysian prosecutors' decision to reject #Vietnam's request to free #DoanThiHuong" during a meeting in the Vietnamese capital on Thursday with Malaysia's ambassador, Zamruni Khalid, the ministry said via Twitter. "Very obviously, there is discrimination", he said, according to the Associated Press.

Huong and Ms Siti Aisyah were charged with killing Kim by smearing his face with VX poison, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in February 2017.

Ms Huong says she was tricked into taking part and believed she was part of a TV prank.

They were the only people in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed.

The trial began in October 2017 but there had been no hearings since August past year when the prosecution finished presenting its case.

However, Doan's counsel Hisham confirmed that Malaysian prosecutors rejected a request to drop the charges against Doan, meaning she alone will face trial for the murder.

Huong's lawyer sought a deferment of the trial Thursday, saying she was unwell and needed medical treatment.

When asked by the judge if she was unwell, Huong stood in the dock and said she suffered from tension and stress. He added she was not in a position to answer questions from both sides.

The next hearing will take place on April 1. The defense part of the trial was to have started Monday.

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong broke down in tears as a prosecutor declared her trial in Malaysia would continue. She could be seen shaking as she pleaded with Vietnam embassy officials. "I had hoped my daughter would be freed like the Indonesian woman", said her father, Doan Van Thanh.

A murder conviction carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging in Malaysia.

George however also said that to avoid speculation, "it would be good if the Attorney General could give his reasons for dropping the charges".



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