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Vietnam woman in North Korea murder case has release bid rejected

Vietnam woman in North Korea murder case has release bid rejected

He said the move to release Indonesian Siti Aisyah but not Doan was perplexing as they were jointly accused and especially after the court ruled that there was prima facie to proceed with the prosecution.

"Vietnam will continue to exert increasing pressure on Malaysia to ensure a fair trial and set her free", Vietnamese Ambassador Le Quy Quynh told VnExpress.

Huong burst into tears as a prosecutor announced that the attorney-general had rejected a request to free her; and that her trial would be adjourned until April 1.

Naran Singh, another lawyer for Huong, said it was very rare for the attorney-general to drop a murder case after the judge had called for their defence.

"Malaysia will create a thorny bilateral problem with Vietnam if there is no similar treatment", said Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert with John Cabot University in Rome.

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. They have said they thought they were taking part in a prank for a TV show.

During the trial, the court was shown airport CCTV footage showing Huong approaching Kim, placing her hands on his face and then running away.

Her lawyers said while she was happy that Siti Aisyah had been released, she was now feeling depressed and had slept for no more than an hour over the past three nights. "Mahathir knows how important good ties are and in this more open era, supporting democratic allies is essential", Welsh said. The government vowed previous year to scrap capital punishment but has indicated this week it would backtrack. It also seized a luxury yacht at the centre of a Malaysian corruption scandal off Bali island in co-operation with U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and returned it to Malaysia a year ago.

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In Vietnam, Huong's stepmother, Nguyen Thi Vy, said the decision saddened her.

However, Siti was granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal after prosecutors told the court that they had been instructed by the AG to withdraw the charge on Monday. "The government can not interfere with the AG's power", Liew was quoted as saying by English-daily The Star online.

North Korea has fiercely denied any involvement in the killing, but four men - believed to be North Koreans who fled Malaysia on the day of the murder - have also been charged in the case.

Both women insist they are innocent. Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law.

Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don't want the trial politicized.

Indonesia's government has said its continual high-level lobbying resulted in Aisyah's release.

It said that over the past two years, Aisyah's plight was raised in "every bilateral Indonesia-Malaysia meeting", including at the president's level, the vice-president's level and in regular meetings of the foreign minister and other ministers with their Malaysian counterparts. She could be seen shaking as she pleaded with Vietnam embassy officials.

"It's our complaint that the public prosecution has not acted fairly and justly to Doan Thi Huong", her lawyer Hisyam Teh, who asked for an adjournment on the grounds that his client was unwell.

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