Malaysian authorities on Friday freed a Vietnamese woman who served two years in prison on suspicion of killing the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2017, Reuters quoted her lawyer as saying. Doan Thi Huong’s lawyer said she had accepted a deal with Malaysian prosecutors in April and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of “causing injury”.
Doan’s and her co-defendant Siti Aisyah, an Indonesian, were accused of smearing VX nerve agent on Kim at Kuala Lumpur airport in 2017. Both the accused claimed that they thought they were part of a television show prank and refuted allegations of murder.
Doan is scheduled to travel back to Vietnam later on Friday.
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.
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.