Lawyers: Decision not to free Viet accused is discrimination

Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong is escorted by Malaysian police at the Shah Alam High Court outside Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

She is the only suspect in custody after the stunning decision to drop the case Monday against Indonesian Siti Aisyah. Analysts say Malaysia risks creating a rift with Vietnam if it doesn't do the same for Huong.

"We regret the fact that the Malaysian court did not set free Doan Thi Huong immediately", foreign ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said, urging a fair trial. He said prosecutors were being unfair to Huong as her case was similar to Aisyah.

'Both the accused have said they were made scapegoats by North Korea, both of them said they were doing video pranks - very obviously there is discrimination, ' said Hisyam Teh Poh Teik.

Two women were accused of smearing a toxic nerve agent on the face of Kim Jong Nam as he walked through a Kuala Lumpur airport terminal in 2017.

Interpol issued a red alert for four North Koreans who Malaysian police identified as suspects and who left the country hours after the murder.

Lawyers for the women have argued all along that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.

A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer that Aisyah, Huong and the four missing North Koreans engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" to kill Kim Jong Nam.

The case against a Vietnamese woman accused of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's estranged half-brother will go forward, prosecutors in Malaysia said Thursday. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.

Responding to news about the AG's rejection of the application from Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong's lawyers for a withdrawal, the DAP national legal bureau chairman said it raised questions about the AG's absolute power to decide prosecutions in the country.

Teh rejected speculation that Siti Aisyah's release was due to a lack of video evidence against her, saying the court had already established a case against both.

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When the judge asked Huong if she was unwell, Huong said she was suffering from tension and stress.

Speaking through tears, Ms Huong told reporters in court: "I am depressed".

Reluctantly agreeing to postpone the trial, the judge said: "I wish I could just carry on but the accused is clearly not mentally or physically fit to testify". The defense phase of the trial was to have begun Monday.

After the ruling, Huong was seen sobbing as she spoke with Vietnamese embassy officials, before being whisked away by police.

"I had hoped for good news today, but...there is none..."

Huong's father, Doan Van Thanh, said: "We are very shocked, very sad and we don't understand why it turned out this way".

He said he believes his daughter is innocent and told her to "stay calm and hope for the best outcome".

Huong's trial was postponed until April 1 after Doan's lawyer said she needed medical treatment. "It's so unfair. The two of them were in this and now one got out, one can not".

Huong would face a death sentence if she is convicted of murder. There was security camera footage of Huong. They also said that government lawyers failed to prove that the women had aimed to kill Kim.

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