Jong-nam murder trial: Murder charge against Siti Aisyah withdrawn

Jong-nam murder trial: Murder charge against Siti Aisyah withdrawn

"I did not expect it", a visibly elated Aisyah told reporters as she was ushered into a vehicle outside the court.

Two women appeared to spread poison on Kim Jong Nam's face while he was walking through the Kuala Lumpur airport in early 2017. "My mind is blank", a distraught Huong told reporters through a translator after Aisyah left.

"I am very happy, I did not expect my release", Siti was quoted as saying.

The two women have said they were conned by North Korean agents into committing the murder, stating that they had thought they were performing a prank for a reality TV show.

Indonesia's ambassador to Malaysia, who was in court with Aisyah, thanked the judge and the Malaysian government, but declined to answer questions about what is next for her.

Malaysia made a decision to drop the murder charge against the Indonesian suspect in the Kim Jong Nam case after taking into account the good relations between Malaysia and Indonesia, it was revealed on Monday (March 11) following the surprise development in the case that has gripped the world.

Over the course of the trial, the court was shown CCTV footage of the women allegedly assaulting Kim Jong Nam while he prepared to check-in for a flight at Kuala Lumpur's global airport.

Indonesia's government said its continual high-level lobbying resulted in Aisyah's release.

Siti Aisyah was on trial for the killing of Kim Jong Nam the estranged half-brother of North Korea's leader

Siti headed back to the Indonesian Embassy, and plans to fly home to Indonesia tonight, embassy officials said. They withdrew the charge against one but not the other.

Prosecutors have given no reason for suddenly dropping the charges against her. Its foreign ministry said in a statement that she was "deceived and did not realize at all that she was being manipulated by North Korean intelligence".

But speaking to reporters through an interpreter in court, Huong said she felt "terrible" about her own position. The charge was "vague" and the prosecution "has failed to make out a prima facie case against the accused (Aisyah)", he said.

"Until today, we do not know what were the exceptional circumstances that were needed for the attorney-general to review the charge against Siti Aisyah".

A High Court judge last August had found there was enough evidence to infer Aisyah, Huong and the four missing North Koreans had engaged in a "well-planned conspiracy" to kill Kim. The defense phase of the trial had been scheduled to start in January but was delayed until Monday. "Huong is in good health, confident and is ready to take the stand", he said, adding that the thrust of the defense remained that the women were tricked into carrying out the killing.

Doan's trial, meanwhile, has been postponed pending a request by her lawyer for the murder charge against her to be dropped too. "She was filming a prank and had no intention to kill or injure anyone", he told the Associated Press. But lawyers have consistently argued that they were merely used for the political assassination, which had clear links to North Korea.

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

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