Curiously ‘Co-defendant Doan Thi Huong, who is Vietnamese, remains on trial’
Indonesian woman arrested as one of a pair female assassins involved in the nerve gas killing of Korean leader’s brother is released
Co-defendant Doan Thi Huong, who is Vietnamese remains facing charges, even as Siti Aisyah was released Monday
The defendant’s home country reportedly piled on diplomatic pressure on Malaysian prosecutors to drop charges against her
Aisyah and Houang were charged with assassinating Kim Jong-un’s brother Jong-Nam is set free Malaysia bows to diplomatic pressure from Indonesia to drop the case
Siti Aisyah, 29, one of two women accused of assassinating Kim Jong-Nam, is free
Malaysia agreed to drop murder charge after lobbying by Indonesian diplomats
Her co-accused, Vietnamese woman Doan Thi Huong, 33, remains on trial
Both women deny murder, saying they thought they were taking part in a prank show when they smeared VX nerve agent on Kim’s face at Kuala Lumpur airport
Aisyah and Huong claim they thought they were brought to Malaysia to play a harmless prank for a hidden-camera show
They also claim they were paid only $100 apiece, and ‘didn’t know [Kim Jong-Nam] was a prince’
‘I feel very happy’. ‘I didn’t expect that today will be my freedom day,’ alleged assassin Siti Aisyah [photo], said later at a news conference at the Indonesian Embassy, expressing her shock after being only told on Monday morning that she would be freed later that day
Siti Aisyah cried and hugged her co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, before leaving the courtroom and being ushered away in an embassy car.
‘I feel very happy,’ she said later at a news conference at the Indonesian Embassy. ‘I didn’t expect that today will be my freedom day.’ Malaysia’s attorney general released a letter saying that ‘good relations’ between his country and Indonesia had led to Aisyah’s release after lobbying by diplomats.
Meanwhile Huong, who is Vietnamese, remains on trial.
Taking this legal route means prosecutors will have the chance to charge Aisyah a second time, but say there are no plans to do so at the moment.
Aisyah will now been allowed to return to her family in Indonesia, but it is not clear whether the government will be providing security for her in case North Korea attempts to take revenge on its stooge assassin.
Alleged Indonesian assassin Siti ‘nice girl’ Aisyah, after cops arrested her in Kuala Lumpur Feb 13, 2017
This image was released of one of the second female suspect wearing a “LOL” top, she turned out to be of the Vietnamese, Doan Thi Huong
In the town of Sindangsari, family made preparations to welcome back the 29-year-old.
Aisyah’s parents were in the capital Jakarta Monday to await their daughter’s return, after a flurry of diplomatic efforts between the two Southeast Asian neighbours.
Aisyah herself said she doubted that she would ever get home, telling reporters: ‘I had already surrendered myself to God.
‘It was the support of my family – my mother, my father – and the embassy, that kept me going. Now I want to see them.’
‘Why did they release the Indonesian girl without releasing my daughter?’ he said.
Vietnam generally does not get publicly involved in individual criminal cases overseas, and foreign affairs officials did not respond to a request for comment.
A murder conviction carries a mandatory penalty of death by hanging in Malaysia.
It said Aisyah, a migrant worker, believed that she was part of a reality TV show and never had any intention of killing Kim.
The women’s lawyers insist the North Koreans are the real masterminds.
The alleged killer team:The four memeber team of assassins were arrested by Malaysian authorities on Feb 13, 2917 include [Top, L-R] Muhammad Farid Bin Jalaluddin, the Vietnamese ‘LOL Assassin’ Doan Thi Huong. Bottom [L-R] Ri Jong Chol, Indonesian assassin Siti ‘nice girl’ Aisyah
The ministry 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.
Aisyah’s release comes just a month before Indonesia’s general election and is seen as a boost to President Joko Widodo, who is seeking re-election.
Aisyah thanked Widodo and his government for helping secure her release. Officials said she was expected to fly back to Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, later Monday.
Wearing a red headscarf and a black flowery traditional dress, Aisyah was composed during the news conference.
She said that she was well treated in prison and received plenty of encouragement, but that she was eager to meet her family again.
Meanwhile, Huong said she was shocked by the development.
It is thought that Kim was assassinated after his half-brother, who had just taken over rule of North Korea, uncovered a plot to replace him with his sibling
Kim Jong-nam apparently alive and well, in the light grey jacket, was seen inside the Kuala Lumpur airport lounge on February 13 moments before the assassins struck
The footage shows a woman in a white top creep up behind the man and appear to spray something in his face. Mission accomplished, the alleged assassin calmly strolls away after the surprise attack in the busy airport.
She calmly walks away through an oblivious crowd of people.
Minutes after he was sprayed by the female assassin, Kim Jong-Nam is dead in an armchair
A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer Aisyah, Huong and the four missing North Koreans had engaged in a ‘well-planned conspiracy’ to kill Kim Jong Nam.
The defense phase of the trial had been scheduled to start in January but was delayed until Monday.
Lawyers for the women have previously said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill.
Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.
Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don’t want the trial politicized.
Kim was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea’s ruling family. He had been living abroad for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un’s rule.The assassination of the leader’s brother, Kim Jong-nam, is announced on Korean TV
Siti Aisyah walked free from a court outside Kuala Lumpur after prosecutors withdrew the charge without giving any reason. She was accused alongside Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam, who remains on trial, of the brazen murder of Kim Jong Nam at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on February 13, 2017.
Malaysian detectives tracked down two migrant women — one Vietnamese and one Indonesian — who they say are seen on CCTV carrying out the attack.
The two women, who are eventually charged with murder, say they had been paid to carry out what they thought was a prank for a reality TV show.
An autopsy reveals Kim died from exposure to the VX nerve agent, an artificial chemical so deadly it is banned under international treaty and classified by the UN as a weapon of mass destruction.
Kuala Lumpur arrests North Korean citizen Ri Jong Chol in connection with the murder. Over the following days investigators say diplomats and airline employees from the isolated regime are also wanted for questioning. All are holed up at the North Korean embassy or have already left the country.
North Korea pours scorn on what it calls “absurd” claims that VX was used, saying South Korea and the US are mounting a smear campaign against it.
Tensions escalated after North Korea banned all Malaysians from leaving Pyongyang. Malaysia retaliated.
In early March, Ri Jong Chol is released from custody and deported from Malaysia. Frustrated Malaysian police say they believed he was involved in the plot but lacked evidence to prove it.
In October 2017, the two womenwent on trial over the murder. They maintain their innocence.
Four men indicted along with the women to murder Kim Jong Nam are identified by a police officer as North Koreans who fled Malaysia immediately after the assassination.