Malaysia: Suspect released in Kim Jong-Nam murder case

Malaysia: Suspect released in Kim Jong-Nam murder case

Shock and delight rippled through the Indonesian town of Sindangsari on Monday (March 11) as residents got word that a local woman accused of assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother had been freed.

An Indonesian woman has been freed after a Malaysian judge discharged the murder charge against her in the killing of the North Korean leader's half brother Kim Jong Nam.

Judge Azmi made the decision after the prosecution, led by deputy public prosecutor Muhamad Iskandar Ahmad, withdrew the charge against Siti Aisyah, in accordance with Section 254 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

She was arrested by Malaysian authorities in connection with the murder of Kim Chol (Kim Jong Nam), 45, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 departure hall on Feb 13, 2017.

Asked if she would ever return to Malaysia, the woman replied: "Who knows - but I don't want to be here right now". She told reporters that she had only learned yesterday morning that she would be freed.

Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of late dictator Kim Jong-il, had challenged his half-brother's succession to the top post.

Ms. Aisyah cried and hugged Ms. Huong before leaving the courtroom and being ushered away in an Indonesian Embassy auto.

Aisyah returned to Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, later on Monday. The two had been the only suspects in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed. "I did not expect it".

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Benah said she is unaware of what will happen next, but plans to "make sure that Siti will only work at home". "Thank you to the Malaysian government for releasing me".

Aisyah and a Vietnamese suspect in the killing, Doan Thi Huang, have claimed that they believed at the time they had been given roles in TV show prank.

Both pleaded not guilty, with their lawyers arguing that they were misled into thinking they were taking part in a prank for a Japanese comedy show on YouTube.

"We are hoping against hope that the charges against her will be dropped", he said. "We're getting a celebration ready!" her aunt Darmi, who goes by one name, told AFP.

Aisyah and Huong were charged with murdering Kim Jong Nam shortly after his death in February 2017, and faced the death penalty if convicted.

Malaysia expelled North Korea's envoy for questioning the government's impartiality in handing the murder investigation, and North Korea retaliated with a travel ban on all Malaysians in Pyongyang, trapping three diplomats and six family members.

BBC reports that Malaysia's attorney general had written to an Indonesian minister, saying the decision to withdraw charges took into account concerns Indonesia had raised about the case.

Some South Korean lawmakers said the North Korean regime had ordered the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, who had been critical of his family's dynastic rule.

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