Indonesian woman freed after Malaysian court drops charges in DPRK man's murder

Indonesian Siti Aisyah center smiles as she leaves Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam Malaysia on March 11
Indonesian Siti Aisyah center smiles as she leaves Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam Malaysia on March 11

12 March, 2019

Wearing a red headscarf and a black, flowery traditional dress, Aisyah maintained her composure during the news conference and said she was treated well in prison.

"I am very happy, I did not expect my release", Siti was quoted as saying.

After the case against Ms Aisyah thrown out, she was quickly ushered out of the courtroom and into a waiting vehicle.

Indonesian national Siti Aisyah (R) is escorted by Malaysia police during a court appearance with Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong (not pictured) at the Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur on 22 January 2018.

"We feel the court is fair".

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

He granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

The trial is due to resume Thursday, when prosecutors are expected to announce whether they will continue with the case against Huong.

Aisyah's lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said he was grateful for the decision: "We still truly believe that she is merely a scapegoat and she's innocent".

The news was a surprise as the court had only been scheduled to hear Huong testify Monday, and the Vietnamese woman was left in shock that she was not released alongside Aisyah.

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Aisyah and Thi Huong were accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim's face at Kuala Lumpur airport two years ago. VX is considered a weapon of mass destruction used for chemical warfare.

Siti Aisyah had been working as a masseuse in Kuala Lumpur, while Doan described herself as an entertainer.

Siti has insisted that they did not know about the murder plot and thought she and another woman were playing a prank on the deceased for a TV show.

The lawyers say the women were victims of a complex plot by a group of DPRK agents.

Doan and Siti, who were arrested a few days after the assassination, faced death by hanging if convicted.

Prosecutors had previously argued that the duo were trained assassins who were aware of the toxicity of the substance they were handling, pointing to how both suspects headed to separate bathrooms immediately after the attack. The women had been placed in custody after a judge in Malaysia said there is enough evidence of a "well-planned conspiracy" to move the case forward. "Huong had no. intention to commit murder". But according to a foreign ministry statement Monday, Siti was "deceived and did not realize at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence", the Associated Press reported.

An Indonesian woman accused in the 2017 killing of the North Korean leader's half-brother was freed on Monday, as a Malaysian court dropped the murder charge against her in a case that drew suspicions of being a political assassination.

"She is confident and ready to give her version of the story".

North Korea has fiercely denied any involvement in the killing, but four men - believed to be North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of the killing - have also been charged in the case.

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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