Malaysia drops murder charge against Indonesian woman in Kim Jong Nam case

As the court announced its decision, Siti Aisyah, 26, turned to her Vietnamese co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, 30, in the dock and the two women, who had been facing the death penalty together, embraced in tears.

Huong and Aisyah were captured on surveillance footage smearing the DPRK citizen's face with the banned VX nerve agent on February 13, 2017, as he waited to board a plane to Macao at the crowded Kuala Lumpur International Airport, killing him within 20 minutes.

Gooi said it was unclear why prosecutors said they wanted to withdraw the charge, as they did not give a reason in court.

Huong's lawyer, Hisyam Teh Poh Teik, said Huong felt Aisyah's discharge was unfair to her because the judge a year ago had found sufficient evidence to continue the murder trial against them.

Siti Aisyah, from Serang, Banten, looked cheerful and thanked all parties involved in her release.

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.

While the court discharged Aisyah from the case, it rejected her lawyer's request for her to be fully acquitted, as it said that the trial had already established a prima facie case and she could be recalled if fresh evidence emerges.

Ms Siti was released from jail after the Malaysian judge granted her a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

"I finished my job".

Ms Aisyah was emotional as she told reporters she had only learned this morning that she would be freed. They had been the only suspects in custody after four North Korean suspects fled the country the morning Kim was killed. "This is my day of freedom. We will try to fly Siti back to Indonesia today or as soon as possible", he said.

Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Rusdi Kirana, who attended the proceedings on Monday, expressed his satisfaction with the turn of events. The foreign ministry said that Siti's future was discussed in "every bilateral Indonesia-Malaysia meeting".

"The process was long and she turned out to be innocent, having fallen victim to a conspiracy believing she was taking part in a prank for a reality television show, not knowing she was being used", he said.

Kim Jong Nam, left, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The defense phase of the trial had been scheduled to start in January but was delayed until Monday.

An Indonesian woman has returned home and thanked the president and Cabinet ministers for securing her release from Malaysia, where she had been charged in the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother.

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.

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

He had spoken out in the past against his family's dynastic control of North Korea and in a 2012 book was quoted as saying he believed his half-brother lacked leadership qualities.

  • Joey Payne