In an unexpected ruling, the Indonesian woman accused of murdering Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, has been freed after Malaysian prosecutors declined to move forward with their case against her.
Siti Aisyah left court Monday morning and is expected to depart for her home country later in the day, her lawyer Gooi Soon Seng said. Gooi said it was unclear why prosecutors said they wanted to withdraw the charge, as they did not give a reason in court.
Aisyah and Vietnamese national Doan Thi Huong were both charged with murdering Kim Jong-Nam in February 2017. Authorities say the two women exposed Kim to the deadly nerve agent VX as he entered an airport in Kuala Lumpur, killing him in minutes. Security footage of the incident leaked to the public showed a woman approaching him from behind, rubbing something on his face and then running away.
Lawyers for the two women have claimed the pair were duped by a team of North Korean agents, who tricked them into thinking they were taking part in a reality TV show. Each pleaded not guilty.
Four North Koreans have also been charged with Kim’s killing. Their whereabouts are unknown, and Interpol has put out red notices for each of them, asking governments around the world to return them to Malaysia to face trial.North Korea has consistently denied any involvement in the killing, though United States, South Korean and Malaysian authorities have said North Korea was in fact responsible for Kim’s death.
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.
Source: Joshua Berlinger and Hadi Azmi/CNN International