Indonesian woman accused of killing Kim Jong-un's half-brother freed by court


Immediately after the judgment, Siti Aisyah stood up in the dock, cried and hugged her co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong of Vietnam, before she left the courtroom.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah, accused in the 2017 killing of the North Korean leader's half-brother Kim Jong Nam, and who was freed by a Malaysian court, attends a news conference at the Indonesian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia March 11, 2019.

"Siti Aisyah is freed", judge Azmin Ariffin told the Shah Alam High Court, as he approved a request from the prosecutor to drop the murder charge. She flew to Kuala Lumpur a week before Kim Jong Nam's slaying on February 13, 2017. "Thank you to the Malaysian government for releasing me".

Speaking at the Indonesian embassy in Malaysia, Indonesian Justice Minister Yasonna Laoly reeled off a list of figures in government - from President Joko Widodo to the foreign minister - who had pushed for Aisyah's release.

Gooi Soon Seng, Siti Aisyah's lawyer, said his client was "a scapegoat".

Monday was the first time Huong and Aisyah had spoken publicly in the more than two years they spent behind bars.

Earlier on Monday as the court resumed the trial, six months after a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for their involvement in the murder, prosecutor Muhammad Iskandar Ahmad requested that the murder charge against Aisyah be withdrawn and that she be given a discharge.

But speaking to reporters through an interpreter in court, Huong said she felt "terrible" about her own position.

She flew back to Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, later Monday and thanked the president and other officials for their help. The two had been the only suspects in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the same morning Kim was killed. "I didn't expect it".

Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong foreground is escorted by police as she arrives at Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam Malaysia Monday
Vietnamese Doan Thi Huong foreground is escorted by police as she arrives at Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam Malaysia Monday

Indonesian national Siti Aisyah (R) is escorted by Malaysia police during a court appearance with Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong (not pictured) at the Shah Alam High Court in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur on 22 January 2018.

Aisyah, surrounded by government officials and a mob of reporters at Jakarta's arport, struggled for words as journalists shouted questions. "Siti is innocent. That's why we keep praying for her", she said. "She's our daughter. Every Indonesian is our children".

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

"She is entitled to the same kind of consideration as Aisyah", he said.

"We want Doan to be treated equally".

An Indonesian woman accused in the killing of the North Korean leader's half brother was released after the prosecutor withdrew the murder charge.

Huong's lawyer said she was "traumatized" that only Aisyah had been released, and the court agreed to adjourn the Vietnamese suspect's testimony to allow her legal team to apply for her murder charge to be dropped. He had been living overseas for years but could have been seen as a threat to Kim Jong Un's rule.

Kim was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family.