Alleged killer of North Korean leader's half brother Kim Jong Nam freed

Alleged killer of North Korean leader's half brother Kim Jong Nam freed

Indonesian national Siti Aisyah (center) smiles while leaving the Shah Alam High Court, outside Kuala Lumpur on March 11, 2019 after her trial for her alleged role in the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Malaysian prosecutors earlier Monday withdraw the murder charge against Siti Aisyah, allowing her to return to Indonesia.

Siti Aisyah cried and hugged her Vietnamese co-defendant, Doan Thi Huong, before leaving the courtroom and being ushered away in an Indonesian Embassy auto.

The women had always denied murder, saying they were tricked by North Korean spies into carrying out the Cold War-style hit using VX nerve agent and believed it was a prank for a reality TV show.

Once free of the courthouse, Aisyah was ushered into an Indonesian embassy auto waiting outside.

"I am very happy, I did not expect my release", Siti was quoted as saying.

Siti headed back to the Indonesian Embassy, and plans to fly home to Indonesia tonight, embassy officials said.

The decision came as a surprise as the court had convened to hear the Vietnamese suspect Huong, who was testifying for the first time on Monday in the long-running trial. 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.

Mr Yasonna's letter stated three reasons the prosecution should drop its charges against Siti Aisyah, which included that the Indonesian woman was a victim of deception and had nothing to gain from committing the act.

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Four North Koreans - formally accused of the murder alongside the women - fled Malaysia shortly after the murder.

Aisyah was a migrant worker in Kuala Lumpur, and is believed to have approached by a man at the nightclub she was working at who convinced her to participate in the prank.

Indonesian Siti Aisyah (C) who was detained in connection with the death of Kim Jong-Nam, is escorted by Malaysian police officers at the Shah Alam High Court.

Siti Aisyah, who was smiling throughout the press conference, had only gratitude to everyone around her. "Both of them were charged on the same evidence, the defence was called on fairly the same grounds", said Salim Bashir, one of Huong's lawyers.

"She is confident and ready to give her version of the story". Huong's lawyer, Hisyam Teh Pok Teik, added that she was "traumatized by what happened in court". Intent to kill is crucial to a murder charge under Malaysian law. He said he accepted that it could have been a "political assassination" but said he could not rule out that there had been a "well-planned conspiracy" between the two women and the North Korean operatives.

Malaysian officials have never officially accused North Korea and have made it clear they don't want the trial politicised.

Kim 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 Jong-un.

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