The Hanoitimes - Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said that the rejection of Vietnam’s request was “perverse”.
Malaysian prosecutors rejected a request from Vietnam to free Vietnamese citizen Doan Thi Huong, who is accused of killing
killing a North Korean citizen said to be the North Korean leader’s elder brother Kim Jong Nam by VX nerve agent in 2017.
Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad gave no explanation for the refusal to drop the murder charge against Doan Thi Huong, who is the only suspect in custody after the High Court in Shah Alam dropped the charge against Indonesian Siti Aisyah on March 11.
Doan Thi Huong leaves Shah Alam High Court escorted by Malaysian police. Photo: AFP
Huong’s lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik said that the rejection of Vietnam’s request was “perverse”, adding that prosecutors were being unfair to Huong, according to AP.
“It does not bring confidence to our criminal justice system. Very obviously, there is discrimination. The AG (attorney general) favored one party to the other,” AP quoted Teh as saying.
He also sought a deferment of the trial, saying Huong has been unwell since Aisyah’s release and is not in a position to testify.
Huong stood in the dock and responded to the judge’s questions on the deferment request, saying she suffered from tension and stress. “I have no idea what is going on,” she said.
The judge agreed to postpone the trial until April 1 but warned there should be no more delay.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Le Quy Quynh told AFP at the court that he was “very disappointed.” “We will request Malaysia to have fair judgment and release her as soon as possible,” he said.
He said Vietnam’s justice minister had written to the Malaysian attorney general seeking Huong’s release and that Vietnam will keep pressing Malaysia to free her.
Huong looked tired and was sobbing as she spoke to Vietnamese embassy officials after the court hearing ended.
On March 14, Spokeswoman of the Vietnamese Minsitry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Le Thi Thu Hang said that the MOFA has made efforts to support Doan Thi Huong and her family in seeking lawyers and evidences as required by the host country and international law. Vietnam has raised the case in exchange visits with Malaysia, asking Malaysian courts to hold fair judgment to ensure Huong’s rights protected.
AP reported that lawyers for the women have previously said that they were pawns in a political assassination with clear links to the North Korean embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and that the prosecution failed to show the women had any intention to kill. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.
According to AP, Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don’t want the trial politicized.