Kim Jong Nam murder suspect freed after charge dropped.
The case against one of two women charged with the murder of the estranged brother of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has been dropped by a court in Malaysia.
Siti Aisyah, from Indonesia, was released from custody after the decision in Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning.
Siti and Doan Thi Huong, from Vietnam, were charged with the murder of Kim Jong-nam in Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017. The women were accused of smearing the toxic nerve agent VX on his face as he waited to board a flight to Macau. He died within 20 minutes.
Both Siti and Doan claimed they had unknowingly been tricked into carrying out the murder by North Korean operatives, who told them they were playing a prank for a Japanese comedy show. They both allege they thought they were smearing lotion on Kim Jong-nam’s face.
At Shah Alam high court in Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning, the prosecution applied for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for Siti, under section 254 of the criminal procedure, which was approved by the judge. The prosecution did not provide a reason why they wanted to drop the charges.
Dressed in a maroon headscarf and black trousers adorned with bright flowers, Siti looked tired and pale as she entered the Indonesian embassy, accompanied by the Indonesian ambassador and other officials.
Tears came into her eyes as she spoke to reporters. “I am very happy, I did not expect my release,” said Siti. “This is my day of freedom. Thank you to the Indonesian President Jokowi and the Indonesian ministries and the government who assigned a Malaysian lawyer for me. Thank you to the Malaysian government for releasing me.”
“I finished my job,” said Siti’s lawyer, Gooi Soon Seng. “She is a free person now, she will be going back to Indonesia.”
Embassy officials confirmed that arrangements were being made for Siti to fly back home tonight. Asked about the first thing she wanted to do on her release, Siti said simply “see my family.”
Indonesia’s government says the release of Siti was the result of its continual high-level lobbying.
Indonesian President Jokowi, who is facing an election next month, met Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir last July to address Siti’s case, and then again with Mahathir, Malaysian attorney general Tommy Thomas and the chief of police.
The letter approving the release of Siti was signed personally by the Malaysian attorney general last Friday, 8 March. According to the letter, the decision to drop the charges against Siti came after taking into consideration “the good relations between our respective countries”.