Vietnam to go all out to help free suspect in Kim Jong-nam murder case

By Khanh Lynh   March 28, 2019 | 07:31 pm GMT+7
Vietnam to go all out to help free suspect in Kim Jong-nam murder case
Doan Thi Huong (L) appears for trial in Malaysia on March 14, 2019. Photo by Reuters

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says no effort will be spared to ensure a fair trial for Vietnamese woman accused of murder in Malaysia.

"Vietnam will continue taking the necessary measures at the highest level to ensure a fair trial and freedom for Doan Thi Huong," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said Thursday.

Hang was speaking at a press conference about the Vietnamese suspect in the murder of Kim Jong-nam, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother, in Malaysia in 2017.

Huong, 30, has been on trial for a year and a half on charges of killing Kim by smearing his face with VX poison, a banned chemical weapon, at the Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

She and her co-accused Indonesian woman Siti Aisyah, 26, both said that they thought they were playing a prank, and had no idea their actions would have deadly consequences.

On March 11, the murder charge was withdrawn against Aisyah and she was set free, prompting the Vietnamese government to call for Malaysia to do the same with Huong, on the basis of the law and the good friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries.

Authorities did not give any reason for withdrawing the charge against Aisyah, which followed an intense lobbying effort by Jakarta, AFP reported.

However, Malaysia rejected Vietnam’s appeal to drop murder charges against Huong during a court hearing on March 14 and announced that her trial would be adjourned until April 1.

Hang said the Vietnamese government has so far taken several measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the Vietnamese suspect.

Vietnamese authorities are maintaining regular contact with representative offices in Malaysia and Vietnamese Embassy officials have visited Huong three times this month to help her have stable metal health, Hang added.

She said the embassy officials will visit Huong again before she is brought to court on April 1.

Huong is now the sole defendant on trial for Kim's murder and could face death by hanging if convicted.

 
 
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