News World Woman accused of using chemical weapon to kill Kim Jong-un’s half-brother released from jail

Woman accused of using chemical weapon to kill Kim Jong-un’s half-brother released from jail

Ms Huong is expected to return to Vietnam on Friday. Photo: AAP
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A Vietnamese woman who spent more than two years in a Malaysian prison on suspicion of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been freed.

Doan Thi Huong, 30, was charged along with an Indonesian woman with poisoning Kim Jong-nam by smearing his face with liquid VX, a banned chemical weapon, at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017.

Malaysian prosecutors dropped a murder charge against Ms Huong last month after she pleaded guilty to an alternate charge of causing harm.

She was sentenced to three years and four months in jail for her role in Mr Kim’s death, but in April received a one-third reduction for good behaviour.

Before leaving the courtroom after the hearing last month she told reporters she was happy and hoped to be a singer and actress when she returned to Vietnam.

Ms Huong was the only suspect in custody after the Attorney-General’s stunning decision to drop a murder charge against her co-accused, Siti Aisyah, who was freed on March 11 after high-level lobbying from Jakarta.

Ms Huong had sought to be acquitted after Ms Aisyah was released, but prosecutors rejected her request.

She will return to Vietnam later on Friday, Mr Teh said.

After being released from prison, Ms Huong was taken into immigration custody immediately and will remain there before boarding a flight to Hanoi, the Vietnamese capital.

Vietnamese embassy translator Maridam Yacfar told reporters at the prison that Ms Huong looked “happy”, but could not give further details.

Mr Teh said his client was very joyful when he met her at the prison.
“She was smiling from ear to ear,” he said.

“She is looking forward to return home to meet her family and friends.”

South Korean and US officials have said the North Korean regime had ordered the assassination of Mr Kim, who had been critical of his family’s dynastic rule.

Pyongyang has denied the allegation.

Defence lawyers have maintained the women were pawns in an assassination orchestrated by North Korean agents.

The women said they thought they were part of a reality TV prank show and did not know they were poisoning Mr Kim.

Four North Korean men were also charged but they left Malaysia hours after the murder and remain at large.

Malaysia came under criticism for charging the two women with murder – which carries a mandatory death penalty in the South-East Asian country – when the key perpetrators were still being sought.

Kim Jong-nam was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea’s dynastic rulers but was believed to have been cast out by his father and had lived abroad for years.

He reportedly never met current leader Kim Jong-un, who is widely believed to have perceived his older sibling as a threat and targeted him for assassination.

-with wires