Vietnamese suspect in Kim Jong Nam murder to be released soon

The 30-year-old's lawyer said prison authorities had informed them that she will be released on May 3.

    The brazen killing of Kim Jong Nam with a toxic nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur's international airport in broad daylight shocked the world [File: Fazry Ismail/EPA-EFE]
    The brazen killing of Kim Jong Nam with a toxic nerve agent at Kuala Lumpur's international airport in broad daylight shocked the world [File: Fazry Ismail/EPA-EFE]

    A Vietnamese woman accused of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be released on May 3, her lawyer said.

    "We have been told by prison authorities that [Doan Thi] Huong will be freed on May 3," lawyer Salim Bashir told the AFP news agency.

    Malaysian authorities had on April 1 announced that the murder charge against Huong was dropped after she pleaded guilty to "causing injury". 

    The poisoning of Kim Jong Nam with liquid VX at Kuala Lumpur airport in February 2017 shocked the world.

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    The 30-year-old was, however, handed a three years and four months jail sentence effective from the date of her arrest on February 22. Her term was later reduced for good behaviour.

    "So great to know that she will be back soon," Nguyen Thi Vy, Huong's stepmother told AFP.

    Last month the charge against another accused, 27-year-old Indonesian suspect Siti Aisyah, was dropped.

    Innocent pawns

    During the women's long-running trial which began in October 2017, the court was shown CCTV footage of them approaching Kim as he waited for a flight, one of them placing their hands on his face, and then both of them running to bathrooms before fleeing the airport.

    But the pair always maintained they were innocent pawns in a plan hatched by North Korea and believed they were carrying out pranks for a reality TV show.

    The women could have been sentenced to death by hanging if convicted of murder.

    The women's lawyers said the real masterminds were four North Koreans who were seen at the airport on the day of the murder meeting the pair, and who fled after the assassination. The four were charged in absentia along with the women over the killing.

    "Obviously Huong deserves this freedom after her long incarceration. She is looking forward to being with her family and friends," her lawyer Salim said.

    SOURCE: News agencies