Malaysia won't drop case against Vietnamese in Kim killing

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Malaysia's attorney-general ordered the murder case to proceed against a Vietnamese woman accused in the killing of the estranged half brother of North Korea's leader, prosecutors said in court Thursday.

Malaysian prosecutors rejected an appeal to drop a murder charge against one of the two women accused of using the deadly nerve agent VX to murder the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, just days after allowing her co-defendant to walk free.

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.

Huong's lawyers said CCTV video showing Huong walking up behind Kim and putting her hands over his face should have no bearing on the attorney general's decision, because both women were mounting the same defence and it had already been chose to free Siti Aisyah.

Huong's lawyer Hisyam Teh Poh Teik was more blunt, telling the court the decision was "perverse".

Vietnam had increased pressure on Malaysia to release Ms Huong, with the country's foreign minister this week pressing his Malaysian counterpart on the issue and the justice minister writing to the attorney-general.

Proceedings were scheduled to resume Monday with Huong, 30, testifying - but the unexpected release of Aisyah lead to the trial being adjourned.

Both women have consistently denied the murder, claiming that they were tricked by North Korean spies into carrying out the killing and believed it was a prank for a reality TV show.

When asked by the judge if she was unwell, Huong stood in the dock and said she suffered from tension and stress. He said Huong only slept an hour a night since Aisyah's release and was not in a position to testify.

Judge Azmi Ariffin said Huong was not "physically and mentally" well enough to continue with the trial on Thursday, and adjourned proceedings until April 1.

As the AG need not give reasons for his decision, Doan would never know why she had been treated differently from Siti Aisyah, the lawyer said.

The ruling leaves Ms Doan, who arrived with armed guards at the Shah Alam court shortly before 9am and wearing a bulletproof vest, as the sole suspect in the case still behind bars.

The Vietnamese defendant, who had to be helped out of court by two police officers following the shock announcement, tearfully told reporters: 'I am depressed. She is now back in Indonesia.

"So it makes no difference whatsover if Doan's image was caught on the CCTV camera, none at all", he said after the hearing.

"It's so unfair. They were together, did the same thing", she said.

Both women insist they are innocent.

The defense phase of the trial is expected to shift the focus onto the absent North Koreans.

Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don't want the trial politicized. He had been living overseas for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.

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