Malaysia drops murder charge against Indonesian woman in Kim Jong Nam case

Kim Jong-nam: Indonesian woman to be freed in murder case

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, accused in the 2017 killing of the North Korean leader's half-brother Kim Jong Nam, and who was freed by a Malaysian court, attends a news conference at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 11, 2019.

An Indonesian woman accused in the killing of the North Korean leader's half brother was released after the prosecutor withdrew the murder charge.

At Shah Alam high court in Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning, the prosecution applied for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for Siti, under section 254 of the criminal procedure, which was approved by the judge.

Huong's lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said Huong felt Aisyah's discharge was unfair to her because the judge a year ago had found sufficient evidence to continue the murder trial against them.

However, deputy public prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad did not provide a reason for the withdrawal against Siti Aisyah (pix) and it is not yet clear whether she would be charged with a lower count.

It said Aisyah's plight was raised in "every bilateral Indonesia-Malaysia meeting, both at the President's level, the Vice-President and regular meetings of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other Ministers with their Malaysian partners".

Indonesian Siti Aisyah (C) who was detained in connection with the death of Kim Jong-Nam, is escorted by Malaysian police officers at the Shah Alam High Court.

Aisyah is expected to return home to Indonesia Monday evening, as officials make preparations for her departure.

The decision came as a surprise as the court had convened to hear the Vietnamese suspect Huong, who was testifying for the first time on Monday in the long-running trial. They were the only suspects in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country on the morning Kim was killed.

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Wernick called her December 19 and said: "I think (the prime minister) is gonna find a way to get it done one way or another". On Wednesday, the Liberal MPs on the committee, who have a 5-4 majority, blocked an opposition call for her return.

The trial, which began in October 2017, had been due to resume Monday with the defense stage of proceedings after a break of several months.

Both deny murder and claim they thought they were part of a TV prank. Her lawyers said they were seeking an adjournment. "We believe she is not guilty", he said.

Her lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, has also asked for her client's charges to be withdrawn. This means Aisyah has not been formally cleared of the charge and could in theory be arrested on suspicion of Kim's murder again.

In the northern Vietnamese province of Nam Dinh, her father Doan Van Thanh expressed shock his daughter was still behind bars and called for her release.

"I feel very happy", said Siti Aisyah at a press conference after she was freed.

Last year, a judge called for the women to enter their defense, saying there was evidence that they were part of a "well-planned conspiracy" with four North Korean men to kill Kim.

North Korea fiercely denied any involvement in the killing.

The Malaysian government is considering abolishing capital punishment for all crimes, however it is uncertain if the changes will be implemented before the sentence is handed down.

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