The Indonesian woman accused of assassinating Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, in February 2017, was released on Monday after Malaysian prosecutors withdrew the charges against her in a surprise move.
Siti Aisyah will leave for Indonesia on Monday, said the country’s ambassador to Malaysia, Rusdi Kirana, The Guardian reported. “I am very happy, I did not expect my release,” Siti was quoted as saying. “This is my day of freedom. Thank you to the Indonesian President Jokowi and the Indonesian ministries and the government who assigned a Malaysian lawyer for me. Thank you to the Malaysian government for releasing me.”
Prosecutors have given no reason for suddenly dropping the charges against her.
However, the fate of Doan Thi Huong from Vietnam – the other woman on trial for killing Kim – is still unclear. Her trial will continue on Thursday.
Four men, suspected to be North Korean agents, are suspected to have orchestrated the assassination. They allegedly got the two women to smear Kim Jong-nam with VX at a terminal of the Kuala Lumpur airport, leading to his death within minutes.
Doan and Siti, who were arrested a few days after the assassination, faced death by hanging if convicted. They had pleaded not guilty. They claimed that they were tricked into believing they were taking part in a prank for a reality television show.
Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of late dictator Kim Jong-il, had challenged his half-brother’s succession to the top post. Officials said Kim Jong-nam had been trying to take over the isolated nation. He had been living in Macau under Chinese protection after a reported dispute with his father over his attempt to enter Japan with a fake passport, South Korea’s intelligence agency had earlier said.
The murder had triggered a diplomatic row between Malaysia and North Korea.