Published: Tue, March 12, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Indonesian woman freed 2 years after killing of Kim Jong Nam

Indonesian woman freed 2 years after killing of Kim Jong Nam

Siti Aisyah, the Indonesian woman accused of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's half-brother Kim Jong-nam, is to be freed after the murder charge against her was dropped.

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. The reason for the withdrawal of the murder charge was not given.

It said Aisyah, a migrant worker, believed that she was part of a reality TV show and never had any intention of killing Kim. "She is a free person now, she will be going back to Indonesia".

Siti thanked President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, as well as the Indonesian and Malaysian governments upon her release, adding that she was thankful for all the support she received.

They both pleaded not guilty and had claimed they were duped by North Korean agents into thinking they were playing a harmless prank for a hidden-camera TV show.

"I feel very happy", Aisyah said at a news conference at the Indonesian Embassy.

The news was a surprise as the court had only been scheduled to hear Huong testify Monday, and the Vietnamese woman was left in shock that she was not released alongside Aisyah.

Prosecutor Iskandar Ahmad said that means Aisyah can be charged again if there is fresh evidence, but there are no such plans now.

Ms Siti, accompanied by Indonesia's Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly, arrived at Jakarta's Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport at around 5.30pm.

Four North Koreans - formally accused of the murder alongside the women - fled Malaysia shortly after the murder.

Originally, Huong was expected to read a statement to the court on Monday, which would have been the first time either of the pair gave testimony.

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The pair has been on trial since October 2017 but proceedings have been hit by repeated delays, and Aisyah's defense - which was originally due to start previous year - was on hold due to a row over witness statements before the surprise decision to free her on Monday.

Upon hearing the developments in her case this morning, Siti left the Shah Alam courtroom, and was escorted into a waiting vehicle.

The trial is due to resume Thursday, when prosecutors are expected to announce whether they will continue with the case against Huong.

"We are grateful the public prosecutor has come to this conclusion, because we truly believe she is merely a scapegoat and she is innocent", he said. She flew to Kuala Lumpur a week before Kim Jong Nam's slaying on February 13, 2017.

One of the women suspected of killing Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, was freed Monday after prosecutors unexpectedly dropped charges against her.

Lawyers for the women has said they were pawns in a political assassination in which the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was involved.

After Aisyah's release, Huong's lawyer said that events were unfair.

The murder had triggered a diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea.

Aisyah returned to Jakarta, Indonesia's capital, later on Monday.

The Vietnamese government has not been as demanding about the release of Huong, who is still in detention.

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