Vietnamese Woman Accused in Killing Kim Jong Case Is Freed


A Vietnamese woman who had been accused of assassinating the North Korean leader's half-brother was freed from prison Friday, ending legal proceedings over the brazen killing after an often weird two-year saga.

Confirming Huong's release on Friday, a Vietnam embassy translator told Reuters that she looked "happy" but couldn't give further details. Her lawyers says she will fly back to Vietnam on Friday. She pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of causing injury and was sentenced to 40 months in prison from the day of her arrest, February 15, 2017.

She was sentenced to 40 months in prison but was released a year early for good behaviour.

The release comes just less than two months after Siti Aisyah, the Indonesian woman who was also tried in the case, was unexpectedly freed.

Huong was taken into immigration custody immediately after her release from a women's prison, and was believed to have been taken to immigration headquarters in the administrative capital, Putrajaya, where she will remain before boarding a flight to Hanoi.

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. Their initial request was refused, but at the start of April prosecutors offered her a reduced charge, paving the way for her release.

'I am so happy now, my whole village is happy now, ' Thanh told Reuters by telephone.

"She had no knowledge of the substance she was putting on Kim Jong-nam", lawyer Salim Bashir said.
"I love you all", she scribbled in the letter, shown to reporters.

"What scared me the most when I was in prison was the loneliness and homesickness", she said.

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After arriving in Hanoi, Ms Huong said she wasn't sure what she wants to do next "but I think I want to become an actor".

Both women have consistently stated that they were tricked into killing Mr Kim, saying they were told they would be taking part in a reality television prank show.

Malaysian officials never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they didn't want the case politicized.

Kim Jong Nam was the eldest son in the current generation of North Korea's ruling family.

The four North Koreans fled Malaysia the day Mr Kim was killed.

He was once seen as a future leader of the isolated country, but when his father Kim Jong-il died, was bypassed in favour of the younger Kim.

The two women were charged with colluding with the four North Koreans to murder Kim Jong Nam, leader Kim Jong Un's half brother, with VX nerve agent.

Malaysia was criticized for charging the two women with murder - which carries a mandatory death penalty in the Southeast Asian nation - when the key perpetrators were still being sought.