Malaysia frees Indonesian suspect in Kim Jong Nam murder case

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 2 weeks ago - Duration: 01:50s

Malaysia frees Indonesian suspect in Kim Jong Nam murder case

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.

Grace Lee reports.

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Malaysia frees Indonesian suspect in Kim Jong Nam murder case

Siti Aisyah says she feels joy after being unexpectedly freed on Monday (March 11).

A prime suspect in the poisoning of Kim Jong Un's half-brother, she had been facing a murder charge and a potential death penalty.

But on Monday morning - a Malaysian court dropped charges against her and prosecutors wouldn't say why.

(SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) INDONESIAN WOMAN WHO WAS A SUSPECT IN THE MURDER OF KIM JONG NAM, SITI AISYAH, SAYING: "I am healthy, the service and welfare in jail is good and there is nothing that pressured me.

They always gave me support." The 26 year-old has been released from custody and Indonesia's foreign ministry says she's being sent home to Jakarta.

According to a letter seen by Reuters, an Indonesian official asked Malaysia's attorney general to reconsider the charges and said she was used as an intelligence tool of North Korea.

(SOUNDBITE) (Bahasa Indonesia) INDONESIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON, ARRMANATHA NASIR, SAYING: "Our government's main aim was for her not to be sentenced to death." She, along with 30 year-old Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong, had both been suspects in the poisoning of Kim Jong Nam - the estranged brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

They were accused of smearing the toxic nerve agent VX on his face as he waited to board a flight at a Malaysian airport in February 2017.

But the two women claim they were tricked by North Korean agents and that they thought they were playing a prank for a TV show.

Siti Aisya's lawyer on Monday repeated his claims that she was merely a scapegoat.

(SOUNDBITE)(English) SITI AISYAH'S LAWYER, GOOI SOON SENG, SAYING: "There was no direct evidence that she applied anything on Kim Jong Nam as you can see from the CCTV recording." Though she's been discharged, the court has rejected her lawyer's request for her to be fully acquitted which means she could be called back if there's new evidence.

Meanwhile, Huang will face the court again on Thursday (March 14).

A request has been made to withdraw charges against her as well.

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